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Are Teens at Risk of Choking?

April 29, 2019

Are Teens at Risk of Choking?

Many parents have asked us how long they should worry about the risk of their kids choking? That can be a tough question to answer, because while we don’t want to cause any undue stress, the truth is that the risk of achild choking never really goes away.

Even as young kids grow past the phase of putting everything in their mouths, even into the teenage years when kids spend less time under their parents’ watchful eyes, the risk remains.

According to the National Safety Council, thousands of people die every year from choking. Demographic breakdowns do show, however, that most of those deaths occur among young children (up to age 5 or so) and elderly people. Teenagers have some of the lowest choking fatality rates, but deaths do still occur.

So if the risk of choking can’t be eliminated, what can we do about it? We can prepare for it.

We believe that preparedness can help stem the tide of choking deaths, and by the time kids reach their teenage years, they are old enough to join in on the fight.

First, we encourage families to educate your children aboutchoking prevention. For young kids, this means lessons like not putting things in your mouth, chewing your food properly and other good eating habits. For teens, choking prevention should include tips like the following:

  • Don’t eat while distracted. The teenage years are typically the most active and the least supervised. Make sure your teens know they are at a higher choking risk if they eat while doing sports or outdoor activities, running around and even talking. Teach your kids the lesson early to focus on their food and devote time to eating properly.
  • Don’t eat while lying down. How often have you watched your child snack on the couch while lying down, looking at a mobile device or the TV? The risk of choking goes way up when the windpipe is compressed in this way.

As we’ve said, though, prevention efforts can only go so far. Emergencies do still happen, and teens are old enough to learn how to react should they or someone around them begin choking. Teach your teens how to recognize choking versus coughing or gagging.

Tell your teens that if someone is choking when there is an adult around, they should quickly get help. Still, because this is the age where kids begin to spend a lot more time unsupervised, it is important for them to know first-aid treatments themselves. Educate them about back slaps, abdominal thrusts, and our innovative anti-choking device, The Dechoker.

We believe there should be a Dechoker available in every school, restaurant and home first-aid kit. If your family has one, show your teens where it is and how to use it. Although this can be a scary topic, we believe openness is a good policy if your child has questions. Check out our tips here for how to talk to your kids about choking.

When families work together to understand choking, prevent it and learn how to treat it, we may begin to eradicate choking deaths across all age groups.


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