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Author Topic: Choking Hazard  (Read 3382 times)

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Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Choking Hazard
« on: October 30, 2008, 08:32:56 PM »
So I'm sitting here munching on some expired nut and chocolate trail mix. So I'm absentmindedly reading the back of the package, and apparently nuts are a choking hazard to children six and under. Now. I can understand three maybe four year-olds and under, but a five or six year old at least has all of his teeth, and is probably on his way to loosing some. So why are cashews and almonds chocking hazards?
(Peanuts are beans, and don't count.)

I remember eating walnuts and Brazil nuts at six. So what the heck?
« Last Edit: November 10, 2008, 10:34:59 AM by Inkidu »

Offline Revolverman

Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2008, 09:48:24 PM »
So I'm sitting here munching on some expired nut and chocolate trail mix. So I'm absentmindedly reading the back of the package, and apparently nuts are a choking hazard to children six and under. Now. I can understand three maybe four year-olds and under, but a five or six year old at least has all of his teeth, and is probably on his way to loosing some. So why are cashews and almonds chocking hazards?
(Peanuts are beans, and don't count.)

I remember eating walnuts and Brazil nuts at six. So what the heck?

lawsuit world.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2008, 12:11:00 AM »
lawsuit world.


 +1   Because some moron sued when their child choked in a peanut.

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Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2008, 09:39:41 AM »
Next time you're up in a plane, have a look at the bags of airline peanuts, which bear the amuising label "Warning! May contain nuts."

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Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2008, 02:06:58 PM »
They don't give out peanuts on airplanes any more.  Too many people have allergic reactions when peanuts are simply near them.  Now they give out nasty stale pretzels.

As for the original warning label, kids are not always as good about chewing their food as grownups.  I had a peanut 'incident' when I was in first grade and - sparing the clinical details - I can tell you that a six-year-old could easily have a whole nut (legume or tree) make it past the mouth without hitting a single tooth.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2008, 02:37:07 PM »
The peanut doesn't count it is not a nut, it is a legume. Why are cashews choking hazards? Probably a lawsuit. I was looking for maybe some interesting science behind it.

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Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2008, 02:47:43 PM »
The reason anything is considered a choking hazard is going to be its size, and the tendency of someone to swallow it whole (risking getting it in the airway whole).  Legos are considered choking hazards for kids under a certain age, although I believe it's a lower age since peanuts, cashews, M&M's etc. have a legitimate reason to be in the mouth.  Nowadays, they don't even want you giving your kids hot dog 'coins' (cut crosswise) because of the risk of choking.  I was told to cut them in half before cutting crosswise (something about breaking up the casing, I suppose).

As far as interesting science, the cashew isn't really a nut either.  From Wiki:  Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense the fruit of the cashew is a seed. The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing a dermatogenic phenolic resin, urushiol, a potent skin irritant toxin also found in the related poison ivy. Some people are allergic to cashew nuts, but cashews are a less frequent allergen than nuts or peanuts.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2008, 03:11:37 PM »
So I guess the only real nut in trail mix is an almond. Anyway. I know a Life Saver candy tried to choke me as a kid, it forgot about the hole...

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Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2008, 04:27:08 PM »
You know, dying from a LifeSaver would be terribly ironic.

Offline Caeli

Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2008, 04:29:10 PM »
Actually, once I almost did choke on a Lifesaver. It was one of those that sparked in the dark when you bit down and crunched on it, and one of the pieces went down my throat and I had a hell of a time coughing it back up.

Offline Cecily

Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2008, 05:58:50 PM »
Like many have said before it's just for legal reasons. It's why so many things have 'may contain peanuts' on the package even if it's vanilla ice cream, for example. I remember once I was on an airplane and the pretzels packages actually had 'may contain cashews' on them. Never knew how a cashew could get into a pretzel, but I still couldn't eat it anyway. :P

Further Offtopicness: I actually think that Canada is making a law so that companies can't slap the 'may contain peanuts' on every product they make, they either have peanuts in them or don't. I think that's a good idea. :P

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Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2008, 06:40:14 PM »
Well, the problem is that some people are literally so allergic to peanuts in particular, that having food processed on the same machinery as peanuts can set them off (as the oil cross-contaminates).  It would be nice to see things like chocolate marked as 'processed in a peanut/tree nut free facility'.

Offline Cecily

Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2008, 06:58:00 PM »
Well, the problem is that some people are literally so allergic to peanuts in particular, that having food processed on the same machinery as peanuts can set them off (as the oil cross-contaminates).  It would be nice to see things like chocolate marked as 'processed in a peanut/tree nut free facility'.

I know that, I'm also allergic to peanuts amongst other things. :)

The main problem is that most things that say that they may contain peanuts actually don't, so it can become quite annoying. Many companies are catching on that peanut allergies are actually pretty common, and a lot of foods with peanuts in them are banned in schools, so finally more companies are having the peanut free sign on their products. It'd still be nice to just know whether foods have something in them or not, which hopefully will happen relatively soon.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2008, 08:17:11 PM »
Not sure if this has already been said, but I'll throw my two cents in anyway.  The science of choking isn't really a science to begin with since the mechanics are simple.  Foreign body becomes obstruction in trachea, no air passes and person enters a hypoxia and will die without some removal of foreign body or opening of alternate airway. 

As for children, they are always at a greater risk for choking.  This is not necessarily due to their teeth, but also the power of their jaws.  Adults, not suprisingly, have stronger jaws than a child and so are better able to break up something as crunchy as a cashew or almond.  Also adults have greater control over the muscles that bring the food to their throat to swallow and control over the epiglottis to close off the trachea.  Children do not have such finite control of these functions and so can easily choke on things that we would consider trivial.  Granted full grown adults still choke on odd items, but that is the way of the world. 

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Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2008, 08:36:08 PM »
Kids also tend to rush with things they like eating.  In my case, I'd been scarfing down peanuts so fast that many of them were simply split along the cotyledons.

Interestingly, with the whole allergy thing, there seem to be two major causes to the recent 'epidemic' of allergies - exposure too early (in the case of most food allergies) and insufficient exposure (more common in environmental allergies like dust, pets, and pollen). I remember a study where they found that kids exposed to cats were less likely to become allergic to them later.  I can verify that this is true for dust bunnies too. ;)

Offline Cecily

Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2008, 09:42:23 PM »
Interestingly, with the whole allergy thing, there seem to be two major causes to the recent 'epidemic' of allergies - exposure too early (in the case of most food allergies) and insufficient exposure (more common in environmental allergies like dust, pets, and pollen). I remember a study where they found that kids exposed to cats were less likely to become allergic to them later.  I can verify that this is true for dust bunnies too. ;)

There are many different theories. I've even heard a theory that children exposed to soy milk at a very young age will increase their chances to get food allergies (which actually might be true for me, because I was a soy milk addict as a child :P).

But on your second point, I actually think it's true, even if it's a bit odd. I know it might not be the same thing, but when I was very young my parents got me a cat -- and I was extremely allergic to it, to the point where I could barely breath. Oddly enough, after keeping the cat around for a week or two, my allergy seemed to magically disappear. I guess if children are exposed to a certain thing at a young age enough they can build up immunity to it -- I don't think that's the case for food allergies, but it might be for environmental things. It's also possible to grow out of food allergies, but it's always quite mysterious how one can do that, especially if it was a serious allergy and not just a 'minor' one like an outbreak of hives.

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Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2008, 09:46:32 PM »
With the second theory (cats and all) the idea is that the child can build up a tolerance during those formative years.  Why this doesn't seem to be the case with food allergies, I'm not sure. 

Offline Cecily

Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2008, 09:53:11 PM »
With the second theory (cats and all) the idea is that the child can build up a tolerance during those formative years.  Why this doesn't seem to be the case with food allergies, I'm not sure. 

Well I think that most food allergies probably start pretty early, at least the very severe ones. It's difficult for most people to actually eat the food to get used to it (even if that does work, I'm not sure, some doctors actually say a food allergy can get worse every time you have a reaction) since a lot of food allergies cause people's throats to close and they'd die without medical attention. But, I know it is possible to grow out of some food allergies if they're minor. :)

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2008, 10:04:33 PM »
I believe cat allergies and dust bunny allergies are not as greatly related to the histamine reaction that food allergies cause.  Could be wrong of course, but that would explain why one can be tolerated and the other cannot.

Offline InkiduTopic starter

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Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2008, 08:46:36 AM »
Actually, once I almost did choke on a Lifesaver. It was one of those that sparked in the dark when you bit down and crunched on it, and one of the pieces went down my throat and I had a hell of a time coughing it back up.
They couldn't get mine back up even with the Heimlich. If it weren't for the whole in the middle I would have chocked to death before it melted enough to swallow. 

Offline The Overlord

Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2008, 12:05:49 AM »


You must be mindful that we live in a day and age when catsup bottles have instruction labels...


I know of no instances where Shake, Open, Pour was disregarded with excessively harmful or lethal results, but someone out there surely has the capacity to do it.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2008, 06:37:46 PM »
Well, considering the original poster did not know there was a choking hazard at the more advanced ages of five or six then this warning may be well warranted.

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Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2008, 06:51:55 PM »

You must be mindful that we live in a day and age when catsup bottles have instruction labels...


I know of no instances where Shake, Open, Pour was disregarded with excessively harmful or lethal results, but someone out there surely has the capacity to do it.


I prefer the Ogden Nash warning label for them myself:

When you shake
The ketchup bottle
First none will come
And then a lot'll.

Offline Eren

Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2008, 12:17:08 PM »
I would say lawsuit world as well. In Estonia we don't have labels like that, but here you can't sure for things like that either.

Anyways, about allergies. I was born during a time when living conditions were not exactly pristine (Estonia in the beginning of the 90s was just recovering from the USSR), and I also was out a lot as a child, getting myself dirty and once I remember I ate my ice cream, even after I had dropped it on the ground (silly, that). Now, I only had an allergy towards hazelnut tree pollen. But my two little brothers had like dozens of allergies, so when my mom breastfed, she was reduced to eating, well...potatoes and sausages basically, since it was so bad.

She's sought lots of help for the boys and while my younger brother does not have those allergies anymore, the older still does (luckily they don't have asphyxiatic effects, he just gets rashes and the like) . Mom's also learned that yep, keeping kids in a completely sterile environment is actually bad for them and helping them get used to certain bacteria and stuff lets them build up resistance.

My two cents.

*stops waffling*

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Chocking Hazard
« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2008, 02:24:22 PM »
I'm wondering if there is some confusion about allergies here.  Are people talking about allergies like runny nose, congestion and miserable or allergies as in zomg you WILL die without immediate medical intervention.