Oh my goodness. Pen caps cause 100 deaths a year. How could this be? One of the simplest and most inconspicuous items that can be found on the most common of office stationary, a pen cap, is incredibly dangerous, and even deadly. Well, it’s not really all that surprising at all, and given the number of people who court death on a daily basis, it’s surprising that pen caps only cause 100 deaths a year, and not many more. So why such a high number of tragedies?
Pen caps can hardly be describes as the best thing to place into your mouth. Yet it is something that many of us do. Quite often you will see people chewing on the ends of their pens while working or thinking. If there is a cap present, this is the item that most people chew. Now chewing and swallowing are two completely different things. But sometimes in the act of chewing the cap, it becomes an accidental meal. Or in the case of those who choke on it, an intended meal. But is it really possible to choke on such a simple and common item?
Although pen caps are smooth, they have sharp or rough areas that can become hooked inside the throat. Often the smooth areas of the cap have been gnawed to a roughness that would make them almost impossible to swallow. When accidentally swallowed, the caps can become stuck inside the throat, and the person who swallowed it then chokes. If help isn’t immediate, or is not sufficient, the person will die. However, they do have one feature that helps people from choking. That’s the hole in the end of the cap. By placing a small hole in the end, if someone accidentally got one stuck in their throat, they could still breathe.
So if the pen caps have a hole in them to stop people choking, why do pen caps cause 100 deaths a year? Believe it or not, but before the holes were placed into the caps a lot more people were being killed every year. While millions upon millions of people place caps into their mouths on a daily basis, only the smallest of fractions of people are killed as a result. And in the majority of cases it isn’t an adult that dies either. It is often a small child or toddler. As toddlers and babies often place things in their mouths to examine them, a pen cap, even with a small hole, can cause a big enough obstruction to kill them.
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