FDA warns strangulation risk in children who use enteral feeding delivery sets

Feb. 10, 2022

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning healthcare providers, parents and caregivers of pediatric patients (children) who receive enteral feeding that there is a risk of strangulation from the use of enteral feeding delivery sets. The feeding set tubing can become wrapped around a child’s neck and cause strangulation or death. The FDA has received reports of two toddlers who died after being strangled by the tubing.

The FDA received two death reports of strangulation with enteral feeding set tubing that occurred in 2021. Both reports involve children under the age of two found with tubing wrapped around their necks after a brief period of time (described as about 10 minutes in one report) when their caregivers were not directly monitoring them. 

While the FDA believes that death or serious injury from strangulation with enteral feeding set tubing in children is rare, healthcare providers and caregivers should be aware that these events can and do occur. It is also possible that some cases have not been reported to the FDA.

Recommendations for Parents and Caregivers of Children who Use Enteral Feeding Delivery Sets:

  • Be aware that the feeding set tubing can get wrapped around a child’s neck, which can lead to strangulation or death. 
  • To the extent possible, avoid leaving the feeding set tubing where infants or children can become entangled.

Discuss with your child's healthcare provider:

  • If your child has been tangled in their tubing before.
  • Steps you can take to help ensure that tubing does not get wrapped around your child’s neck, such as keeping the tubing away from the child as much as possible.

FDA release