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article imageFounder of JT's Law talks Child Food Choking Prevention Act Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jul 27, 2017 in Health
Joannie, the founder of JT's Law, chatted with Digital Journal about the Child Food Choking Prevention Act, which is a cause that is dear to her heart.
"My beloved charismatic godson JT died at the age of three from choking on a hot dog," she said. "It seemed like a freak accident. It was shocking and completely ripped the heart of everyone in my family. It was so unimaginable but then I started searching the Internet and I learned about food choking and how common it really was I never knew I never knew it was so common."
She continued, "It was common and then I started to learn about preventative measures that should be taken in certain high risk choking foods and I didn't understand why parents and caregivers weren't aware of this danger so I contacted my elected officials and ask them to support a bill called JT's law which would require education."
On April 24, 2008, JT's law was enacted and it requires the New York Health Department to monitor foods and to determine which foods have statistically proven to be a high risk for choking two young kids and it requires them to maintain a webpage strictly for the purpose of providing resources on food choking. "The purpose of the Facebook page is strictly to provide education on high risk choking Foods and to empower people with life-saving procedures such as the Heimlich maneuver to combat a child food choking event."
For more information on JT's Law, check out its official Facebook page.
In addition, she monitors the Internet for articles about child food choking and when they are instances where a child lost their life. "I tried to be their voice and share their story and enlighten my supporters even more about this danger so that their lives didn't pass in vain," she said.
When asked about how child food choking can be prevented, she responded, "When caregivers go to parties or are around friends and family and they see a child being served a high risk choking food that is not prepared properly, they need to speak up. I know it's uncomfortable and I know it's awkward. I know I hate doing it but they need to speak up and say something because this danger is real. It's constant. Also people need to be trained in the Heimlich maneuver that is the other mission that JT's law has taken on my sister-in-law who is a registered nurse nurse practitioner volunteers her time and we do workshops where she teaches people how to properly perform the Heimlich maneuver on infants children and adults."
She has noticed a common pattern that food choking occurs in school cafeterias. "This is because the food's not served properly this is because there are many distractions this is because of rushed eating it's like all the things that my post say not to do, but what's most shocking is that schools are not required to have staff trained in the Heimlich maneuver. Isn't that crazy? I tried to have JT's law amended to require School staff to be trained in the Heimlich maneuver but due to the fiscal implications and what that means is due to money they said it would never fly."
With the help of modern technology, she gets to have JT's Law on Facebook, a social media forum, where she's able to reach thousands of people so it's wonderful. "It has been very productive and helpful in my passion to educate," she said.
Her proudest moment with JT's law would be when it was actually an enacted into a law. "It is the only law of its kind in all 50 states no other state has a law to protect children Against Child food choking. It's one of a kind," she said.
To learn more about Choking Prevention for Children, visit the New York Department of Health homepage.
More about JT's Law, Child Food Choking Prevention Act, Founder, New york
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