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Pediatrician's 'toilet roll test' makes checking for choking hazards easy

Choking is a leading cause of death among children younger than 4.
/ Source: TODAY

A pediatrician in Ohio is sharing her simple hack to check for choking hazards.

In a video that has gone viral on TikTok, Dr. Nkeiruka Orajiaka demonstrates how she uses a toilet paper roll to determine if a toy is too small for children from birth to age 3.

“Anything that passes through the tube means it can go into their mouth and they can swallow it,” Orajiaka told TODAY Parents.

But the trick isn't fool-proof. Orajiaka warns that caregivers also need to be aware toys that come with batteries or have small pieces that can break off.


Use a toilet roll to safety of your kids toys from ##choking Supervision is still advised. ##infant ##kidstoys ##toysafe

♬ original sound - Riana

Orajiaka’s method is an alternative to a test created by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC method uses a cylinder called the small parts test fixture that simulates the size of a toddler’s throat. In an essay for Popsugar Family, Orajiaka explained, “Toys that fit easily through this fixture are banned for children under 3.”

A toilet paper roll is just slightly bigger than the CPSC small-parts test fixture, Orajiaka said.

Since sharing the "toilet roll test" on Tiktok, Orajiaka has been inundated with comments.

“Thank you for this!!! expecting my first baby and sometimes I get tempted to buy toys for a bit older as they look more fun,” wrote one person.

Added another, “This is how I taught my first child what was safe for the baby! Visual representation for the win.”

Choking is a leading cause of death among children younger than 4, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Most incidents are associated with food, coins and toys.

A 2019 study, which was published in Pediatrics, found that children are swallowing objects at a rate that’s been rising over the last two decades.

“There are an average of 99 children coming to the doors of emergency departments for foreign-body ingestion every single day,” said study author pediatrician Dr. Danielle Orsagh-Yentis at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

“This... really highlights the need for increased vigilance in the home or anywhere that children are present.”