Across the U.S., families are making plans for their Thanksgiving celebrations. It’s a time of togetherness and warm cheer and — let’s face it — a time to eat a ton of food! Here at Dechoker headquarters, any occasion that includes a giant feast has us on high alert for increased choking risks, but that doesn’t mean we don’t also love gravy. So we’ve got some tips to help you and your loved ones enjoy your Thanksgiving get-togethers safely.
Aside from little toys and other small objects that young children sometimes choke on, by far most choking incidents involve food. And we know that Thanksgiving tends to be a day of BIG eating. One of the things that makes Thanksgiving eating more dangerous is that we break from our normal food routine.
Instead of sitting down to our usual calm meal at the table, we munch on the nuts as we prep the pecan pie topping, we grab a handful of baby carrots from the relish tray as we cruise past the appetizer table, and we snack on homemade Chex mix while lying on the family room floor playing a board game with the kids. Then when we sit down for the main feast, we heap massive portions of food on our plates, return for seconds, and hit up the dessert table a few times.
Sounds like a good day, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, all those behaviors come with an added choking risk. Healthcare providers recommend that we eat calmly while sitting upright, taking appropriate sized bites, chewing carefully and keeping a drink nearby.
Speaking of keeping a drink nearby, another risky behavior that’s common at Thanksgiving is adding alcohol into the mix. It may seem like common sense, but it’s worth mentioning that our inhibitions get looser the more bottles of wine we go through. Not only does heavy drinking lead to a lot more DUIs around the holidays, but it may also lead us to make unsafe eating choices that could raise the risk of choking.
There are also certain treats that are common at the holidays that are known for being some of the top foods that people choke on. These include:
All of these foods are common in a Thanksgiving spread, and they all have a higher choking risk because of their size, shape or consistency. If you’ve got any of these foods on your menu, be sure to cut the foods to a smaller size and to keep an eye on those most at risk — young children and elderly guests.
Choking prevention should always be the goal, and it’s wise to be extra cautious on occasions like Thanksgiving, but no matter how vigilant we are, a choking emergency can still occur. For the ultimate peace of mind at your holiday celebrations and year-round, we encourage families to add The Dechoker anti-choking device to their home first-aid kits. Our easy-to-use device has been saving lives around the world. Learn more about how it works here.
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