Hot Dog Security
A nice dose of risk reality:
Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement calling for large-type warning labels on the foods that kids most commonly choke on—grapes, nuts, carrots, candy and public enemy No. 1: the frank. Then the lead author of the report, pediatric emergency room doctor Gary Smith, went one step further.
He called for a redesign of the hot dog.
The reason, he said, is that hot dogs are “high-risk.” But are they? I mean, I certainly diced my share of Oscar Mayers when my kids were younger, but if once in a while we stopped for a hot dog and I gave it to ’em whole, was I really taking a crazy risk?
Here are the facts: About 61 children each year choke to death on food, or one in a million. Of them, 17 percent—or about 10—choke on franks. So now we are talking 1 in 6 million. This is still tragic; the death of any child is. But to call it “high-risk” means we would have to call pretty much all of life “high-risk.” Especially getting in a car! About 1,300 kids younger than 14 die each year as car passengers, compared with 10 a year from hot dogs.
What’s happening is that the concept of “risk” is broadening to encompass almost everything a kid ever does, from running to sitting to sleeping. Literally!
There’s a lot of good stuff on this website about how to raise children without being crazy paranoid. She comments on my worst-case thinking essay, too.