Airway Obstruction - Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates

The following statistics are the latest available from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign:

Injury and death rates:

  • In the most recent statistics, 88 percent of children who died from airway obstruction injuries were children ages 4 and under.

  • In 2006, there were over 14,000 emergency room visits for airway obstruction.

Where and when:

  • Most airway obstructions in children occur at home.

  • Children most often choke on food items.

  • Balloons are the most common cause of toy-related choking death among children of all ages.

  • Strangulation by window blind or drapery cords most often occurs when the cord hangs near the floor or crib. The majority of children who strangle by window covering cords are ages 3 or under.

  • More than half of drawstring strangulations (i.e., on the hood or neck of a jacket) occur when they become entangled on playground slides.

Who:

  • The age group that is most at risk for all forms of airway obstruction is ages 4 and under.

  • Children who sleep in adult beds are at increased risk for airway obstruction.

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