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Choking Hazards at Holidays

The holiday season is nearly here, and with that, come giant feasts! With feasts, unfortunately, comes the risk of choking. Knowing how to help someone who is choking can literally be the difference between life and death. And even if you think you do know what to do, brushing up on that knowledge is never a bad thing. Here are five quick facts about choking, any of which you can give to someone who scoffs at the idea of being ready to help a choking victim.

While common knowledge always cites the Heimlich Maneuver for choking victims, professionals now recommend you lean the victim forward, brace them, and begin with five firm blows to the upper back before moving on to the Heimlich (abdominal thrusts).

In adults the most common cause of choking is talking while eating. Keep your thought in mind until you’ve swallowed that bite! Also, try to keep distractions to a minimum while eating.

In addition to being generally unhealthy, hot dogs reign as the fatal choking champion. If you’re giving a young one a hot dog, cut it length-wise and then into pieces.

Popcorn is also a serious choking hazard for young children and toddlers. It seems like it wouldn’t be, since it collapses so quickly when contacting moisture, but the real danger is in the small hulls. The general rule of thumb is this: If they can’t spell ‘popcorn’, then don’t give it to them.

And finally, don’t forget to look out for your dog! Turkey bones, like other bird bones, are hollow and easily splinter. A bird bone can cause your dog to fatally choke. A better treat would be gizzards or giblets.

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