Calls for Warning Labels on Foods Get Louder

food.jpgIt is a well-known fact that children are just as much at risk from choking on pieces of food, as on toys. Earlier this year, a study confirmed that 60% of children below the age of four, who had to be rushed to hospital emergency rooms after a choking incident, had choked on food, and not toys.

In spite of this, there are few or no restrictions on the kind of foods that you can allow a three or four-year-old child to have. In contrast, there are a number of barriers between a child and a small toy, or a toy with detachable parts. This is in spite of the fact that many of the small toys that are believed to be a choking hazard, like small balls, are shaped and sized exactly like foods that can cause serious harm to a child, like gumdrops.

This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics added its voice to those calling for warning labels on foods that come with a high choking risk to children. The group is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to look into having caution labels on certain food products.

Pediatricians, parents and Indiana product liability lawyers have always known that certain foods increase the risks of choking. These include popcorn, peanuts, marshmallows and fish with bones.

However, it’s not rare to find parents offering their two or three-year-old child these foods. Fatal incidents involving children choking on popcorn or gumdrops have been reported from around the country. A few years ago, 17 children in the US died from choking on gelatin-based candy that they were supposed to suck from a small plastic cup. The candy has since been banned. As Indiana product liability attorneys, we remain concerned that there are more products out there that pose the same choking hazard to children, but whose safety risks have gone neglected by federal authorities.

Calls for warning labels on foods are usually greeted with laughter. There will be those who say that parents are the best judges of what their children should eat. However, the fact is that many parents are not even aware that their child could easily choke on something like a peanut on a popcorn kernel. It’s only when they’re in the hospital watching doctors resuscitate their child, that they realize these foods were not meant to be given to their child.