This study was undertaken in order to establish the incidence of aerodigestive tract foreign body accidents among older children and adolescents, and to investigate the circumstances surrounding these events. A review of patients treated over a 5-year period identified 367 children from whom aerodigestive tract foreign bodies were removed. Seventeen percent of these patients were 5 years of age or older. Among these children, 88% aspirated nonfood items, half of which were school supplies; 78% of the group 5 years old and under aspirated food items. Among older children with esophageal foreign bodies, 31% had food impactions, compared with 7% in the younger group; 70% of these children had a history of some anatomic abnormality of the esophagus. These data suggest that older children and adolescents represent a distinct group of patients at risk for foreign body accidents. Pediatricians and parents of children in this age group should discourage the practice of using the oral cavity as a repository for school supplies, and should stress the need for adequate preparation and mastication of food, particularly among children with esophageal abnormalities.