Before you plan that family bar-b-que, were you aware that Americans eat an estimated 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day to Labor Day? And that on average a child chokes to death on food about once every five days (in the US) and that among those children younger than 10, 17% were caused by choking on hot dogs!
I remember first hearing about the choking hazard of hot dogs in the early 1980's, I think it was on the Phil Donahue show. A grandfather was so upset about the death of his grandson, that he invented a special cutter for them, so that no other child would die this way. The cutter was very simple to use, it was kind of like an apple slicer, you put the hot dog through the center hole, and it would cut grooves into the side of the hot dog. That way, if a child started to choke, the throat would not close on a solid cylinder, and would be easier to remove. It was about this time too, that Fisher Price redesigned the shape of their "Little People" because the old design had proven to be a choking hazard also.
I never did see that grandfather's hot dog cutter, but I did take his message to heart. I began to cut my children's hot dogs lengthwise into quarters. It was this time that my children were no longer allowed to eat un-halved grapes and marshmallows.
Now almost 30 years later, the designers of Guard Dog, a hot dog slicer for the home, has an industrial design to slice hot dogs at the factory. It is called Kinder (pronounce it like kindergarten) Cut, and it thinly slices the hot dog into an 8 petal, daisy design at the meat processing plant. You cook the hot dog as usual, either boiled or on the grill, and the hot dog opens up. The idea is that if a bite of hot dog does get stuck in the throat, it will easily break up into a few pieces, and be easy to cough out.
the hot dog as usual, press the Toddler Bites Hot Dog cutter over it, and the hot dog is cut into twenty identical pieces. Easily washable.
Will Kinder Cut become standard to the hot dog market? I don't know. To me, having the inside of my hot dog exposed to flame or boiling away in a pot, just isn't appetizing. But with so many families now having twin and even triplet births, this could be a real time saver.
And anything that reduces the worry of choking, child or elderly, has got to be a winner in my book.
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