Deaths that happen in January are a serious problem in Japan and the cause that's lead to more than 1,300 people dying because of accidental suffocation is “Mochi”, the soft rice cake eaten during this period.

Even though New Years is a holiday that many are look forward to, especially because we get time off to spend with our families and there’s a lot of beautiful tradition behind and delicious dinners, many accidents happen.

The soft rice cakes eaten on New Years are a must dish in the Japanese culture and this period. However, accidents and death by choking happen quite frequently because the rice cakes, not eaten carefully, might get stuck in your throat.

December and January especially have these sorts of accidents and it is estimated that more than 1,300 people lost their life in January from eating mochi and suffocating.

Around 90 % are 65 years old or older, so the reason that leads to asphyxiation lays in their ability to chew/swallow and the lack of saliva resulted in the effects of medication taken.

Not being able to inhale the oxygen, your consciousness will fade within a few minutes, representing a serious risk.

Besides the elderly, parents should also need to take measures if they give their children mochi to eat.

In kindergartens, Japan has Mochi Tsukuri (making mochi) every January and children will afterward eat it, so teachers should also pay attention and cut the mochi in very small pieces.

They should also remember to tell the kids to chew slowly because some tend to chew only a bit or not at all and swallow the food, so this might lead to something very serious.

To prevent death by choking while eating mochi it is important to take the following precautions:

- Cut it into small pieces so that is easy to eat

- Chew a lot and slowly before swallowing

- Stay with your children or the elderly when they are eating rice cakes

During this period, is important to watch out for what the children might put in their mouths and be careful with allergies.

Because many get together with the family and relatives during New Year and lots of food is on the table, kids might take it if you don’t watch them carefully.

If you come to Japan and plan on eating mochi, don’t forget to eat slowly and chew it well before you swallow.

By - cinnamonellie.