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Ministry wants to ban choke-risk foods from early childhood centers



This story was originally published on RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission.

The Ministry of Education is considering a ban on foods including sausages, chips and popcorn in early childhood centers because they pose a high choking risk.

The ministry has told centers that they want to make the chores on their food.

It was under-fives because they had a higher risk of choking because they had small air and food passages.

Sausages, chips and popcorn.

Supplied

Sausages, chips and popcorn.

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Since the start of 2016, the ministry had been alerted to seven cases of choking, including a case of a 22-month-old child who suffered severe brain damage after an apple.

"The highest risk of choking and early nutritional value, or both".

Those foods were whole or pieces of nuts, large seeds like pumpkin or sunflower, hard or chewy sweets or lollies, crisps or chips, hard rice crackers, dried fruit, sausages, saveloys and "cheerios", popcorn, and marshmallows.

Other high-risk foods could be altered.

For example, raw carrot, apple or celery were difficult for young children to bite into pieces.

Grapes, berries and cherry tomatoes.

The guidelines also said small children should be supervised while eating.

They should sit appropriately.

Ensuring accountability

Sarah Alexander is a 22-month-old and has been lobbying for tighter rules.

She said the ministry's push for mandatory food regulations.

They They're making it crystal clear if a service is unnecessarily puts a child's life or wellbeing at risk. Providing Dr Alexander said.

"Until now that hasn't been the case, it's been accepted that dangerous food can be provided to children."

Choking incidents were relatively common in early childhood services and they needed food, Dr Alexander said.

"Children – being children – will jump up and down, it's very hard to get them to sit down, to chew properly."

The proposed change would be reassuring for parents, she said.

"They don't have to check that their child is going to be placed at unnecessary risk because they are taking responsibility now."

This story was originally published on RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission.


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