Number of choking-deaths in the U.S. 1945-2018

In 2018, there were around 5,084 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 2018, 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 2018*

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Release date



United States

Survey time period

1945 to 2018

Supplementary notes

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

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