Attack of the Killer Hot Dogs

Let me warn you right off the bat, if you have a weak stomach this story might not be for you. I was surfing the web looking for something to write about and came across this story, people are upset with hot dogs and similar foods because they might be considered a choking hazard.

AP via Fox News:

Some food makers including Oscar Mayer have warning labels about choking, but not nearly enough, says Joan Stavros Adler, Eric’s mom. The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees. The nation’s largest pediatricians group is calling for sweeping changes in the way food is designed and labeled to minimize children’s chances for choking. Choking kills more than 100 U.S. children 14 years or younger each year and thousands more — 15,000 in 2001 — are treated in emergency rooms. Food, including candy and gum, is among the leading culprits, along with items like coins and balloons. Of the 141 choking deaths in kids in 2006, 61 were food-related.

Grocery Manufacturers Association spokesman Scott Openshaw declined to say whether food makers would consider warning labels or new designs, but said making parents aware of choking dangers is key to keeping kids safe. Openshaw said the industry would continue working with the FDA and USDA “to ensure that our products are as safe as possible.” At the FDA, spokeswoman Rita Chappelle said the agency will review the academy’s analysis and recommendations. She said the FDA also would continue consulting with the Consumer Product Safety Commission on assessing choking hazards associated with food and take action on a case-by-case basis.

That’s not the story, but it sure did remind me of one. When I was in the 7th grade I had an encounter with the evil choking hot dogs. It was a spring day and I was quite hungry. For lunch I’d brought along some mini corn dogs, one of my favorite foods to this day. I heated up the dogs and began to devour them. Then it happened, some blame it on the lack of chewing and some might say it was my impatience, but no matter the cause, I now had a mini corn dog lodged in my esophagus.

Its quite an experience to have something stuck in your esophagus. I put in a concerted effort to get this mini corn dog out of my body, and all of my efforts failed. So I went down to the nurse, which at my school was just the school office, where they decided that the Heimlich maneuver was the best method to remove the dog. It didn’t work. After various awkward Heimlich sessions with the office lady we gave up and I waited for my Mom to arrive. Sitting in the office was not fun, the pain was really getting to me, along with the strange panic that comes along with getting food stuck in your throat. After a while my saliva started building up and I was foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog, continually spitting out the saliva that I could not swallow.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, my Mother arrived, signed me out of school and took me to her office, hoping that it would come out, but if not, she works for a Chiropractor that might have been able to help us. On the way to her office I blacked out, maybe from the lack of oxygen. When we arrived and I awoke it finally hit me. As I made my way out of the car there was no other option but to adhere to my natural reflexes.

After vomiting a couple of times, the mini corn dog that had caused me so much trouble was finally dislodged from my esophagus, and I could breathe and swallow saliva normally once again. Would more warnings on the box of mini corn dogs have helped me at all? I think not. Maybe a good lesson on chewing your food and being patient, but not another warning on the box. How did we get along before they had the warning on the box?


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