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May 1, 1996

Reducing Choking Deaths in Children-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of Minnesota Minneapolis

JAMA. 1996;275(17):1314. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530410027026

In Reply.  —The purpose of our article was to present the data, not to provide the solution to the problem. It is true that reported balloon deaths have decreased in the 1990s, and we agree that education is perhaps the most important component contributing to this decrease. That is why our article was written. If the members of The Balloon Council are serious about their commitment to childhood safety, then I challenge them to have warning labels printed on individual balloons in addition to the package that the balloons come in (as mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the federal government in 19941). Balloons are usually received individually, not as a package.What was not emphasized strongly enough in our article is the hazard of food products marketed toward children and currently not regulated for design. I was reminded of this fact last month after removing chocolate-covered