Safe feeding practices for infants and young children

Authors

  • RW BYARD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Paediatrics, University of Adelaide
      Department of Paediatrics, Women's and Children's Hospital, 72 King William Rd, North Adelaide, SA 5006.
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    • 5

      RW Byard, MD, MRCPath, Paediatric Pathologist.

  • V. GALLARD,

    1. Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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    • 6

      V Gallard, BSc, Dip Nut & Diet, Chief Dietitian.

  • A. JOHNSON,

    1. Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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    • 7

      A Johnson, DipT, BEd, Grad Dip Health Counsel, MEd, Health Promotion Coordinator.

  • J. BARBOUR,

    1. Child and Youth Health, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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    • 8

      J Barbour, MB, BS, Grad Dip PH, Medical Officer.

  • B. BONYTHON-WRIGHT,

    1. Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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    • 9

      B Bonython-Wright, BA, BEd, School Counsellor.

  • D. BONYTHON-WRIGHT

    1. Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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    • 10

      D Bonython-Wright, BA, BSocAd, IASW, ASORC, Counselling and Training Consultant.


Department of Paediatrics, Women's and Children's Hospital, 72 King William Rd, North Adelaide, SA 5006.

Abstract

Objective: To review local and overseas experience of food asphyxia in children and to examine aspects of safe childhood eating practices.

Methodology: Inpatient separation information data for childhood hospital admissions in South Australia were searched for episodes of food-induced airway obstruction and case records of the Department of Histopathology at the Women's and Children's Hospital were searched for cases of fatal food asphxia.

Results: While other forms of injury to young children appear to be declining in numbers, episodes caused by choking on food have remained relatively constant. The increase in average length of hospital stay (from 2.8 days in 1989-90 to 5.2 days in 1993-94) also suggests that the episodes have been more severe. Two fatal cases were also found.

Conclusions: Choking due to food inhalation is a problem with potentially fatal consequences. Young children are particularly at risk as they have immature dentition and control of swallowing, and lack experience of food. Although young children should avoid potentially dangerous foods such as raw carrot sticks and raw apples, certain currently available information packages for parents recommend these foods.

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