When my daughter first started eating solid food (really solid food that required chewing, not that baby food mush), I started her out on “circle cereal,” popularly known as Cheerios. My hazy, sleep-deprived mom mind reasoned that, should one of the little o’s get lodged in her throat, she would still be able to breathe through the little hole, thus preventing choking.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and I are apparently on the same wave length, though separated by a few years. In its Feb. 22 policy statement on choking prevention in children, the academy suggests, among other measures, that food and toy manufacturers redesign products with high choking potential.

Apparently, the hot dog makers of the nation felt this targeted them, as the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has been making the media rounds in defense of the iconic wiener shape.

In a USA Today story, council president Janet Riley said, “As a mother who has fed toddlers cylindrical foods like grapes, bananas, hot dogs and carrots, I ‘redesigned’ them in my kitchen by cutting them with a paring knife until my children were old enough to manage on their own.”

Ah, how I remember dicing up all those little choking hazards myself, wishing all food came in the same form as that blessed circle cereal.

– MM