A Very Simple Feature That May Have Saved The Lives Of Hundreds Of Children


Choking is one of the most common causes of death in babies and children under five and it is usually caused by everyday objects that are found around our homes. Young children explore the world around them with all their senses and love chewing on all sorts of things, including objects that could cause them to choke. Small parts of toys, pieces of food and household items are common culprits.

A child’s airway is very small and easily blocked, so peanuts, raw vegetables and other foods that need grinding with the teeth before being swallowed should be avoided until a child reaches the age of 4, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Foods such as raw carrots should be chopped up very small and grapes should be cut in half. Hot dog sausages are another common cause of choking as they are just the size to form a perfect plug in a child’s airway.


Toys such as marbles, small balls and deflated balloons are also tempting for toddlers to chew on and are responsible for many choking incidents, so should be kept well out of reach of children under three. Household objects such as buttons, small plastic tags, safety pins and bottle caps also pose hazards.

In the past, a common cause of choking was the cap found on the everyday Bic Cristal ballpoint pen. Adults, as well as children, chew on pens, especially when nervous or concentrating. The Bic pen top is of a size to be easily swallowed and can easily block a person’s airway: around a hundred children used to due to choking on pen tops each year.

Read on over the page to find out how Bic found a simple solution to this problem.

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