Number of choking-deaths in the U.S. 1945-2017

In 2017, there were around 5,200 choking deaths in the United States. Death from choking is more common among the elderly with food most often responsible for such incidents. The use of abdominal thrusts, of the Heimlich Maneuver, is suggested to dislodge objects and prevent suffocation.

Death from choking

In the United States, the odds of one dying from choking on food is around 1 in 2,696. These odds are greater than the odds of dying from an accidental gun discharge or as a passenger on a plane. In 2017, there were around 1.6 deaths from choking per 100,000 population.

Choking among children

Choking is also hazardous among young children. Young children are not only in danger of choking on food, but also of choking on small objects, such as toys with small parts. Choking, strangulation, or suffocation are the leading reasons for the recall of children’s products in the United States. The other most common reasons for such recalls include the danger of bodily harm and risk of flammability, burn or electric shock.

Number of deaths due to choking in the United States from 1945 to 2017*

Number of deaths
20175,216
20164,829
20155,051
20144,816
20134,864
20124,634
20114,708
20104,570
20094,370
20084,366
20074,344
20064,332
20054,386
20044,470
20034,272
20024,128
20014,185
20004,313
19953,185
19903,303
19853,551
19803,249
19753,106
19702,753
19651,836
19602,397
19551,608
19501,350
1945897
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Sources

Release date

2019

Region

United States

Survey time period

1945 to 2017

Supplementary notes

* Choking is the inhalation of food or other object obstructing breathing.

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