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Should You Steal Your Children’s Mini Eggs?

A Parent’s Dilemma: Tasty Treats vs. Choking Risks

Should you steal your children’s Mini Eggs? Actually, there might be an entirely justifiable reason for robbing your kids like The Highway Rat, but let’s start with the lure of those tasty treats.

Long before Easter approaches, we start to see Easter egg display towers rising in the supermarkets like a cardboard city. Your kids notice the cheerful packaging (of course they do) and begin tugging on your arm and giving you ‘puppy dog’ eyes. “Muuuuuum (or whatever familial term you have to suffer in a drawn-out whine), can I have an Easter Egg?” You grumble, push the trolley hurriedly past the Seasonal Aisle  –  that lengthy shrine to Easter consumables – and tell them in your sternest voice that they will have to wait until Easter.

Packets of mini eggs on display

Mini Eggs: the UK’s second favourite Easter treat. (Creme eggs hold the top spot.)

Then, before you know it, Easter has arrived. Various relatives and even some lovely neighbours have all kindly bought your children an Easter egg each. And that’s before we consider the untiring efforts of the Easter Bunny, who has generously – yet again – provided a basket of chocolate eggs, foil-wrapped bunnies and fluffy chicks. Great job, Bunny.

Naturally, you want them to enjoy these confectionary goodies, but perhaps it’s too much? They ought not to have too much sugar. It’s not healthy, makes them behave like feral beasts and, of course, the dentist wouldn’t approve. But there is another point to consider and that is the choking risk, particularly when it comes to one particular Easter treat, Cadbury’s Mini Eggs.

Young child sneaking a treat under the table.

Young child sneaking a treat under the table.

The Grim Reality of Choking Hazards

But how bad is it, really? Well, it’s not great. According to a parental advice forum, a five-and-a-half-year-old girl tragically died after choking on a Mini Egg in 2015. Despite her mother being first aid trained and having delivered back blows and abdominal thrusts, she couldn’t dislodge the obstruction to save her daughter. This heart-wrenching incident underscores the critical importance of understanding and addressing choking risks, especially for children aged 5 and younger.

The Child Accident Prevention Trust reports that around 40 under-5s are rushed to hospitals every day due to choking incidents. 22 children died from choking in 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics (though this includes objects as well as food). The Mini Eggs packaging warns of a choking hazard to children aged 0-3, which serves as a stark reminder of the potential risks.

The small size (around 15 mm diameter – hubby got his calipers out) and ovoid shape of these chocolates arguably make them a ‘perfect’ choking hazard. Should a whole Mini Egg accidentally go into the airway, the crisp sugar coating would not melt or crack easily and it may even become sticky, making it hard to dislodge.

The warning label reads "Choking Hazard: this product is not suitable for children under 4."

Mini Egg Warning Label

Choking: A Life-Threatening Emergency

To be clear, choking occurs when a patient’s airway becomes blocked, leading to the inability to breathe, which can result in fatal cardiac arrest or lack of oxygen to the brain.

First Aid for Choking

Knowing what to do in a choking emergency can save lives. If you suspect someone is choking, follow these steps:

  1. Encourage Coughing: Instruct the casualty to cough. If choking is mild, this may clear the obstruction.
  2. Back Blows: Lean the casualty forward and give up to 5 sharp blows to the middle of the shoulder blades. In infants under 1, the infant can be placed on your thigh or forearm.
  3. Abdominal Thrusts: If back blows don’t work, stand behind the casualty, wrap your arms around their waist and perform up to 5 upward abdominal thrusts. An infant should be turned onto their back and a chest thrust performed, using two fingers.
  4. Call for Help: If the obstruction persists, call emergency services (999 in the UK) and continue with cycles of back blows and abdominal thrusts until help arrives or the casualty becomes unresponsive.
  5. CPR: An unresponsive casualty will need CPR. This, too, should be adapted for children and infants.
Instructor presses two fingers into a baby manikin's chest to demonstrate chest thrusts in an infant.

Chest thrusts on an infant manikin

Choking Precautions and Prevention

Prevention is key to avoiding choking incidents. Here are some important precautions:

  • Never leave a small child unattended while eating Mini Eggs or anything else.
  • Ensure children sit up straight and are not eating while walking, riding in a car or playing.
  • Cut food into small, manageable pieces – not easy to do with Mini Eggs!
  • Use a rolling pin to bash up your Mini Eggs and add to brownies or cookies.
  • Pay attention to food shape, size, consistency. Avoid toys and household hazards that pose choking risks.
Speckled pastel Mini Eggs in a bowl.

Those speckled pastels are unmistakeable: a bowl of Mini Eggs.

Conclusion

While we all want our children to enjoy Easter celebrations and there’s no harm in a bit of chocolate, Mini Eggs present a serious choking hazard, especially for young children. So should you steal your children’s Mini Egg? The answer is a resounding yes, particularly if they’re aged 5 or younger. Great news if you fancied one anyway. Safety first!

 

Some useful links:

Child Accident Prevention Trust: choking prevention

NHS: How to Stop A Child From Choking

Red Cross: first aid for a child who is choking

Resuscitation Council: choking treatment assessment guide