A French toddler choked to death on a toy inside of a Kinder Egg – a popular European treat that comes with small toys inside of a plastic capsule embedded in the chocolate. Kinder Eggs are banned in the United States because they pose a choking hazard.
As Today Online reports, the 3-year-old girl died in Toulouse, a city of about half a million people in southwestern France.
The girl was eating the chocolate candy treat when a wheel came dislodged from the toy hidden inside and lodged in her throat. It’s not clear, as of this writing, what sort of toy was hidden in the egg.
Her grandfather, according to police, managed to dislodge the wheel from the girl’s throat, but it was too late. She died of asphyxiation after losing too much oxygen while the plastic part was stuck in her throat. An autopsy confirmed that the toddler’s cause of death was “mechanical asphyxiation.”
Kinder Eggs, or Kinder Surprise Eggs, are manufactured by Italian candy manufacturer Ferrerro. According to the product’s website, a child eating a Kinder Egg will find a surprise inside – a toy or “gadget,” sometimes tied to a popular movie or TV franchise.
They are not intended for children under three years of age.
“All Kinder Surprise toys are designed and developed with safety in mind, rigorously observing international regulations as well as extra safety criteria voluntarily adopted by the Ferrero Group.”
Kinder Eggs are hugely popular in Europe, where the candy-with-a-surprise has been turning up in Christmas stockings and birthday parties for over 40 years. British parent Sarah Beiting, writing in The Independent, explains that, when handled properly, Kinder Eggs are perfectly safe.
“As someone who has given Ferrero Kinder eggs to my children while living in Europe, I can state that for a child over the age of three, these eggs are perfectly safe. The capsule holding the toy is too large for a small child to swallow, and is almost impossible for adults, let alone children, to open easily. Plus there are plenty of warnings on the foil packaging advising parents not to give the confection to children under the age of three.”
Kinder Eggs are illegal in the U.S., however. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strict rules about toys and other objects embedded in food. And the U.S. is quite serious about keeping Kinder Eggs out of the country: in 2012, a Canadian couple tried to enter the U.S. with six Kinder Eggs in the trunk of their car. They were stopped by Border Patrol, sent to a detention center, and told that they could be fined up to $2,500 per egg, according to Postmedia News.
Something akin to Kinder Eggs is available in the U.S., however: Choco Treasure candies, manufactured in New Jersey, are similar to Kinder Eggs in that they contain a surprise. Available since 2013, the Choco Treasure candies skirt the “embedded objects” band by having a clear seam between the chocolate and the plastic capsule inside. They have been available in the U.S. at Target stores, and directly from the manufacturer’s website, since 2013. Although sales have been “higher than expected,” according to Huffington Post, they have not attained the popularity in the U.S. that Kinder Eggs enjoy in Europe.
Choking is one of the leading causes of death among small children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most choked-on food item, according to Family Education, is hot dogs.
Do you think Kinder Eggs should continue to be banned in the U.S.? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image via Shutterstock/gnoparus]