Candies are one of the main causes of choking in children under 6 years old

This has been M's first year meeting the Three Kings. The first thing that surprised us is that it has 'nerves of steel'? He entered the royal cabin with astonishing tranquility, approached him and said: 'I want a medical bag' The King asked him where his letter was with all the gifts that he wanted. Then she looked at me and said: I only want one ??? I hope this lasts sooooooo many years!

The second surprise was the biggest. Upon leaving the cabin, the king, filled his hood with small round hard candies. So, thinking about the doctors and the pile of candy that came out of their pockets, I thought about the choking problem that these sweets cause in children under 6 years old (And for parents who have to make them disappear without causing a tantrum and tremendous disappointment.)

When I got home I started looking statistics and studies that they could support my thinking about the choking hazard these candies pose and I found.

In March of this year we could read the sad news of David, the two-year-old boy who choked on an almond and had a very lucky ending. Most families know that it is not convenient to give nuts to children because they are foods with which they can easily drown (more information here) and move them away from them. But they don't make it easy for us with the candies.

Why are candies so dangerous? 

There are several studies that have looked at the foods that children choke on the most so that families can prevent them. But they are not classified according to the danger because, to have these data, the incidence should be observed according to the frequency of administration. That is, the most dangerous food does not have to be first on the list, since it is possible that it is the one offered to the child in the least number of times.

So we can see how in this review of Pediatrics in 2010 they tell us that choking is very dangerous causing 70 deaths a year in the US  (Although the deaths in swimming pools and beaches (700) and traffic accidents (1000) are still the main ones) They tell us that:

(...) Other high-risk foods are hard candies and sweets, peanuts and dried fruits, seeds, whole grapes, raw carrots, apples, atragantamiento-nino-caramelopopcorn, pieces of peanut butter, marshmallows (or "clouds"), and gum. Many of these foods, such as round candy, grapes, marshmallows, and meat / sausages, share the same high-risk physical characteristics that create effective plugs for children's airways. (…)

(…) It is noteworthy that many foods with high-risk characteristics associated with suffocation are human-made. These foods are designed and therefore subject to change, unlike naturally occurring food products such as certain fruits and vegetables.

Food manufacturers that are frequently consumed by children should, to the extent possible, design these products in a way that minimizes the risk of suffocation in the children's community..’

In 2013 they present more data and they show us the ages where these chokes are most common (in the first two years of life, although it is not until 6-7 that the curve is reduced):

'Of all the types of food, stiff caramel-candies caused the most choking episodes (15.5%), followed by other sweets (12.8%), meat (other than hot dogs) (12.2%), and bone-bones (12.0%). These 4 types of food accounted for more than half (52.5%) of known food choking cases. (…) 

(...) The number of episodes of choking on sweet-candy (both hard and soft) increased with age. At 4 years, 55.2% of choking episodes was due to candy-sweets. Also, patients 0 to 4 years of age were more likely to choke on fruits / vegetables than patients 5 to 14 years. ' (The latter is logical since up to that age not so many candies are usually given, but it is shown that it is not an appropriate time either)

So why do you keep insisting on giving these sweets to children at parties? 

I constantly ask myself this question: Caramels being one of the most dangerous foods because they hardly melt in the mouth or respiratory tract, or because they are shaped in such a way that they are capable of blocking the passage of air Why in this type of Christmas parties do not consider giving something else? 

The Spanish Association of Pediatrics add (on nuts but can be extended to caramels):ahogo-nino-caramelo

'' Absolutely forbidden to give children under 5 or 6 years old nuts (or candy), because if they choke on them they can either suffocate or cause lung damage from the oil distilled by these products (nuts). In any case, it would require urgent treatment, first by you and then in the ER. If you have nuts (or candy) in your home, make sure they are out of your child's reach. '

Children don't ask for candy if they don't know it. They don't know what they are if they haven't tried them. They don't need them because they are pure sugar and zero nutrients.

So, Santa Claus, Reyes and various organizers of this type of event we need you to give us a cable and look for other types of gifts. 

I leave you some proposals

  • A folio with a drawing to color and thus put it on the tree to give it to the Three Kings.
  • Some small colored pencils for when we go for a walk.
  • A mini-story about Christmas.
  • A tiny tree ornament (paper or cardboard, no more needed)

You don't need to give yourself a handful of things, it doesn't have to cost a lot of money, but It is very important that we all take care of the health of the little ones. In these cases it is not just a matter for the parents. Help us to make it a little less difficult!

A few days ago we were at the Aquarium and the royal page gave M a small chocolate coin. Yes, it is true that it also contains sugar, but at least there is no risk of choking. Giving it to them or not is already an option that parents will also have to work on.

For safety, keep candy, jelly beans, lollipops and lollipops (which can be just as dangerous when broken) from children. 

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