Nonfatal choking-related episodes among children--United States, 2001

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2002 Oct 25;51(42):945-8.


Food and nonfood substances can present a choking hazard for children, particularly younger children. During 2000, the latest year for which national mortality data were available, 160 children aged < or = 14 years died from obstruction of the respiratory tract associated with inhaled or ingested foreign bodies (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, codes W79-W80); food and nonfood substances were associated with 41% and 59% of these deaths, respectively (CDC, unpublished data, 2002). To characterize nonfatal choking-related episodes in children treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments (EDs) during 2001, CDC analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP). This report summarizes the results of this analysis, which indicate that an estimated 17,537 children aged < or = 14 years were treated in EDs for choking-related episodes in 2001. Many of these episodes were associated with candy/gum (19.0%) and coins (12.7%). Parents and caregivers should be aware of the types of foods and objects that pose a choking risk for children, become familiar with methods to reduce this risk, and be able to treat choking in children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Airway Obstruction / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Population Surveillance
  • United States / epidemiology