Hot dogs, nuts and popcorn are all some of the greatest choking hazards for kids but the are all my kid’s favorite foods! So how do we make hot dogs safer for kids? It’s really easy and sometimes when I’m with a group of people at an event that is serving hot dogs, I’m so shocked that parents don’t know this one easy step to help prevent them from choking on hot dogs.
First of all, a little disclaimer. I am not an expert and I cannot guarantee that if you do this your child will never choke on a hot dog. This is something that I learned as a preschool teacher that I feel will greatly help against a child choking. I am no way an expert on hot dog safety.
Second when I was working as a preschool teacher we had hot dogs once a week for lunch. We never cut them at all until a little boy in our area choked on a hot dog on his first day of kindergarten and died. After that there was a ton of meetings with the higher ups looking into if we should keep hot dogs in the menu or remove them. But let’s face it, kids love hot dogs. So the decision was to keep the hot dogs but they found a way to make them safer simply by slicing them lengthwise.
The main danger of a hot dog is in the skin. It peels off in sheets and can easily cover the throat and prevent air. It’s not easily dislodged since it’s so thin.
Some parents slice toddlers hot dogs into pieces but when the child gets a little older they just go back to letting them have full hot dogs. But older children and even adults have died from choking on a hot dog so let’s all take the simple step to try and help prevent that, regardless of age of the person eating it. If you slice the hot dog lenthwise but still keep the hot dog intact in the middle, older children and adults rarely notice.
This is a great way to make them safer for older kids that would notice if you all the sudden started dicing up their hot dogs.
Simply start at one end, slicing all the way through the gathered ends of the hot dog. Pull the knife down the entire length of the hot dog until you slice through the opposite end. You don’t have to slice all the way through! just go deep enough to cut the casing of the hot dog and maybe a tad more.
Now go around the hot dog and make at least 4 more slices but 5 is better.
This is what the end looks like when you’re done with the slices. See they do not go all the way through, keeping the hot dog intact but breaking up the skin / casing of the hot dog.
This hot dog I nuked to death in the microwave so you can see all the cut pieces and how they are still intact. Don’t cook yours until it does this unless you like rubber.
And now it’s safer for kids (and adults).
One little step that I’ve done using whatever I can find, even the edge of the cardboard food serving tray the hot dog came in at a baseball game.
Our job as moms is to keep our family safe. It’s important and this step takes 30 seconds, it’s worth it.