After years of warnings about sodium, saturated fat, and preservatives, there's another health concern to add to the hotdog: choking hazard. The American Academy of Pediatrics now not only wants warning labels on hotdogs to remind parents of the choking hazard, they would like to see the hotdog redesigned (that's right, redesign the hotdog). There is some evidence to back up the concern. The USA Today says "More than 10,000 children under 14 go to the emergency room each year after choking on food, and up to 77 die, says the new policy statement, published online today in Pediatrics. About 17% of food-related asphyxiations are caused by hot dogs."
Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio says "If you were to take the best engineers in the world and try to design the perfect plug for a child's airway, it would be a hot dog. I'm a pediatric emergency doctor, and to try to get them out once they're wedged in, it's almost impossible."
Janet Riley, president of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, agrees that parents should be better educated when it comes to their kids hotdog consumption, but points out, "As a mother who has fed toddlers cylindrical foods like grapes, bananas, hot dogs and carrots, I 'redesigned' them in my kitchen by cutting them with a paring knife until my children were old enough to manage on their own."