Choking prevention: shortcomings of traditional public education campaigns, prompting the development of web-based interactive teaching tools for preteens, teenagers, and adults

J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009 Dec;38(6):646-51.


Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of the BC Children's Hospital (BCCH) Safe Start Choking Prevention campaign, which began in 2002 and used newspaper, magazine, radio, and television interviews of parents, injury prevention experts, and physicians to educate the public about choking risks, prevention, and treatment (CRPT); to compare our campaign with other campaigns; and to determine if a new strategy is needed to educate the public about CRPT.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of the number of cases of laryngeal, bronchial, and esophageal foreign bodies (LBEFBs) that required rigid endoscopy under general anesthesia at BCCH and/or admission to BCCH was conducted. Data from January 1997 to December 2002 to January 2003 to December 2006 were compared. The world literature on choking prevention and analysis of barriers to CRPT public education was reviewed.

Results: The data demonstrate the ineffectiveness of our traditional media campaign. The number of total operating room visits at BCCH for LBEFBs increased marginally after our choking prevention campaign began. Published reports from Israel and Crete indicate that educational campaigns that included direct teaching of CRPT by otolaryngologists and other health educators to parents and their children are effective; however, such campaigns would be difficult to replicate within larger populations.

Conclusion: A new strategy for CPRT public education is required. We are creating an animated video and a comprehensive, interactive website to teach CRPT to preteens, teenagers, and adults (with prospective validation of knowledge transfer and long-term outcome measurement).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Airway Obstruction / etiology
  • Airway Obstruction / prevention & control*
  • Airway Obstruction / therapy
  • British Columbia
  • Bronchoscopy / methods
  • Child
  • Foreign Bodies / complications
  • Foreign Bodies / prevention & control*
  • Foreign Bodies / therapy
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Laryngoscopy / methods
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Education as Topic / trends
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Teaching / trends*
  • Young Adult