Summer means a lot of things - swimming, beach days, fireworks, and of course, cookouts and BBQ's! It can also mean parents go into hyper-drive when it comes to keeping their kiddos safe. Pool and water safety is a must. Around the 4th of July, we are extra careful with the sparklers and little fireworks we do at home or in our neighborhood. And when it comes to quintessential summer foods and backyard BBQ's, we have to exercise some caution as well! Hot dogs are a favorite summer food for so many families, and especially for kiddos. But as you might know, hot dogs can actually be a major choking hazard for small children.
Instead of scratching them off your summer menus for good, let's go over the correct way to cut a hot dog for your kids to make sure they can enjoy them safely. This is good info year-round, but especially during the summer!
Every parent had stressed over the foods their kids eat, especially when they're new to solids. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, choking is the leading cause of injury among children, and it can be fatal. Hard candy poses the biggest hazard, accounting for 15% of choking episodes. But hot dogs can also be dangerous for young kids and account for 12% of choking-related injuries.
The problem is that hot dogs are the perfect size to lodge in a child's airway, and the texture can make it difficult for kids to properly chew them into smaller, more manageable pieces.
When giving your kids hot dogs, avoid serving them whole or sliced into coins. Rather, cut the hot dog lengthwise or in quarters. The same goes for other foods like grapes, cherries, or cherry tomatoes. Experts recommend cutting these foods this way until around age 4, but even then, it's a good idea to serve them in bite-size pieces just to be on the safe side. Additionally, go over proper eating habits with your kids - taking small, manageable bites, chewing food thoroughly, and not putting too much food in their mouth at one time. There's no reason to keep hot dogs off the menu this summer, as long as you're serving them safely!
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