NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Statistics show that food related choking incidents in children are on the rise. According to a new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, choking is the leading cause of childhood injuries showing up in emergency rooms.

The study found that each year there are more than 12,000 non-fatal foods related choking injuries.

North Texas pediatrician Dr. Gregory Sonnen said often the injuries are a result of parents rushing young children into eating solid food. “A good time to start talking to parents about baby food is around six months and really not progressing beyond that until some time after nine or even 12 months,” he advised.

Interestingly, Sonnen said it’s not just the food but also the environment that can increase the likelihood of a child experiencing a choking incident. “So many times if you go by a fast food restaurant that has a playground there are little folks running around with wads of French fries, and maybe some chicken nuggets, trying to climb a ladder and eat at the same time. That’s a prime situation for a choking episode to happen.”

Despite the number of incidents at businesses, the study found hat 90-percent of choking incidents happened at home. “Some of it was kind of eye opening,” Sonnen said of the study results. “A good example is that 37-percent of these choking incidents were in kids under a year of age.”

Surprisingly, by the time kids were 4 years old, more than 55-percent had experienced a choking incident involving some kind of candy.

Sonnen offered a piece of advice for parents – make sure that kids are supervised when eating and focus on nothing but that task. He said it’s important to just “make mealtime, mealtime.”

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