Prevent children from choking: two parents take on the challenge!

March 15, 2010

(Don't miss the 10% discount mentioned below!)

Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy statement calling on manufacturers and the government to institute labels on foods that pose the highest risk for choking in kids.  Citing choking as the leading cause of death for children under 14, the AAP estimates that 1 child dies every five days from choking on food.  And while all kids are vulnerable, it’s those less than 4 years that are the most at risk because they don’t have a full set of teeth, their windpipes are small, and they are still mastering eating solid foods.

While it is unclear whether labeling will ever happen or even what impact it will have, there are guidelines already recommended by the AAP, and supported by the US Food and Drug Administration, for parents and other caregivers to reduce the risk of choking in children.  I’ve summarized them below, but I would encourage all parents and caregivers to look at their site ( Choking Prevention) for more information.

  • Always supervise your children while eating
  • Insist that kids are sitting while eating. No walking, running, playing, or lying down.
  • Avoid the foods that kids most commonly choke on: hot dogs, nuts & seeds, chunks of meat & cheese, whole grapes, hard or gooey or sticky candy, popcorn, chunks of peanut butter, raw vegetables, raisins, and chewing gum.
  • Cut food for infants and young children into pieces no larger than one-half inch in any direction, and teach them to chew their food well.

As the dad of 3 beautiful kids aged 2 to 8, I remember when my oldest started eating solid foods.  I went looking for help on how to reduce the risk of choking and found these recommendations from the AAP.  While most of it seems like common sense, the one that surprised me was the one-half inch size small”, but I was always asking myself “How small is small?”  I should also mention that I'm a former engineer, and I simply needed a little more precision than “small”. guideline. 

I knew I should cut up his food “You think you know how small one-half inch is until you start trying to cut up pieces of food to that size.  It's smaller than you think.  At least, it's smaller than we thought.  And, my wife Susie and I thought, maybe this is smaller than most people would expect.  Plus, how many people even knew about this guideline?  None of our friends had, and we thought they should.

So we invented the Safe Sizer™ plates.  They are colorful, durable melamine plastic plates with a molded in one-half inch inner diameter raised ring.  The purpose of the Safe Sizer™ ring is to:

  • Inform those who don't know about the one-half inch size recommendation
  • Remind those who do to follow it at the exact place and time when they need the reminder
  • Measure bite sizes to one-half inch or less.  Simply Cut, Size, and Serve right on the plate.

Safe Sizer™ Choking Prevention Plates by Midwest Monkeys®-midwest monkeys, choking prevention, safe sizer, food safety, dinner plate, kids plate

We formed a company and called it Midwest Monkeys (, after our 3 monkeys who were all born in the Midwest, and started selling the Safe Sizer™ plates in 2009.  Parents love the safety feature and piece of mind it brings when leaving their children with Grandma, daycare, or a babysitter.  Kids love the fun, colorful designs. 

We’ve been mentioned in numerous articles, on TV, and in mom blogs.  We’ve won awards from iParenting Media, The National Parenting Center, PTPA (Parent Tested, Parent Approved), and Creative Child Magazine.  But what we’re most proud of is that maybe we’ll help prevent one of those kids and their parents from suffering a senseless tragedy.

Until March 19.2010 the Safe Sizer™ is 10% off on Mom 4 Life, grab yours now and gain some peace of mind!

David Zak
Owner, Midwest Monkeys

Mom 4 Life. Now that Ashley owns Mom 4 Life, I am focusing my energies in homeschooling and asking God to use me in other areas.

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