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Doctor Warns Of Choking Hazards In Children's Toys

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While most parents are careful in giving toddlers age appropriate toys for the holidays, accidents can still happen. And it’s often the little things that can cause the biggest problems.

Dr. Christopher Muratore, chief of Pediatric Surgery at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital on Long Island, says it only takes a minute for a toddler to swallow a part of toy, such as a Lego block or doll’s shoe, that was given by an older sibling.

Even if a child is not actively choking, there are signs a parent should be aware of “that might be something as subtle as leaving the proximate area, such as the dinner table, the TV room, whatever it might be, and hiding in a corner. They might actually be struggling.”

Dr. Muratore says his biggest worry is a child that swallows a button battery, such as from a camera or watch.

“Even if the child is okay, if that battery is stuck in the food tube, the esophagus, it will immediately start causing problems. And within a few hours cause some significant problems.”

While parents can do a mouth swipe if the object is still in the child’s mouth, once it is swallowed, Muratore says they need to get medical attention as soon as possible.

Terry Sheridan is an award-winning audio journalist. As part of his duties as Senior Director of News and Education, he developed a unique and award-winning internship program with the Stony Brook University School of Communications and Journalism, where he is also a lecturer and adjunct professor. He also mentors graduate fellows from the Sacred Heart University Graduate School of Communication, Media, and the Arts.