Saturday, March 6, 2010

LABELS NEEDED FOR LUDICROUS LEGISLATION


Labels urged for foods that can choke kids By Shelby Lin Erdman, CNN February 22, 2010 (CNN) -- It's a silent, often overlooked danger that kills dozens of children every year, and it's easily preventable: choking to death on food. Now the largest pediatrician group in the United States is calling for warning labels on foods that pose the highest risk for choking. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates at least one child in the United States dies every five days from choking on food. The academy rates choking as the leading cause of death among children 14 and younger. . . lists hot dogs as the highest risk food for young kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics has, in this instance become more of an Academy of Histrionics. They're not even close on their statistics, nor does CNN (apparently) do the simple cross-check usually associated with accurate reportage.
One every five days. 73 kids annually. Not even close to a 'leading killer.' 0-1 years: * Developmental and genetic conditions that were present at birth * Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (4,895 in 1992) * All conditions associated with prematurity and low birth weight 1-4 years: * Accidents * Developmental and genetic conditions that were present at birth * Cancer 5-14 years: * Accidents * Cancer * Homicide . . . The group is issuing a new policy statement calling on the government and manufacturers to implement a food labeling system warning parents of these risks. One can but wonder what foods might make the cut. It is, in fact, hard to think of a food that has not been pulverized beyond recognition (salt and sugar added) upon which a kid might not choke. . . . "This is a call to action," said Dr. Gary Smith, a pediatrician and immediate past chairman of the Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention of the American Academy of Pediatrics. A call without a purpose. Tell me, Gary, to whom are you calling and over what? Celery? Pork chops? Sugar-coated Cheerios? Maybe a Tweet would be more appropriate whenever you see a kid snarfing down the crust of bread its mother handed to it in the stroller. . . . "For many years, the U.S. has protected children from choking on toys. We have legislation. We have regulation. We have voluntary standards. We have labeling. We have recall programs," said Smith, also director of the Center for Injury, Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Those programs are in place to pinpoint unsafe manufacture. A hot-dog is a hot-dog. . . . "But we don't have a consistent set of measures that have been put together for prevention of choking on food." Yes we do. Those measures are called common-sense. We once actually had parents in this country who practiced that nearly lost art. If, in those bygone days, a parent had the temerity to admit their child had (or had nearly) choked on a hot-dog, they would be told quietly not to exercise such questionable judgment. The federal government would most likely have been left out of the equation. I know you miss all those symposiums you no longer attend, since your chairmanship became an immediate past-chairmanship. I understand the pain and withdrawal. But leave us, unimpeded, to our hot-dogs and the meaningful debate between the Chicago and New York style of presentation. And, for god's sake, Dr. Smith, find a meaningful line of work.