Given how many times your average toddler falls down during the day, pretty much any object poses some threat to them, but two new studies published in Pediatrics have found that there are a few culprits around the house that are responsible for a huge number of injuries: bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups posed the most danger to cute baby faces, while those little button batteries regularly wreak havoc on children's insides.
The first study found that between 1991 and 2010, bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups were responsible for more than 45,000 kids under three being treated in the emergency room. That breaks down to about 2,270 children a year, or one kid every four hours. Also, that number is probably artificially low, according to Sarah. A. Keim, one of the study's authors. She said that many kids with injuries were probably either treated at home or at their pediatrician's office, so they wouldn't have shown up in the study. The most common injuries from bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups tend to be to the teeth and mouth. Bottles were the worst, causing 66 percent of the damage. Pacifiers caused 20 percent, and sippy cups were implicated in 14 percent of the cases. The problems usually seem to arise when the kids are walking with the object in or near their mouth. So, should you wish to safeguard your child's precious face, you'd be advised to teach them to drink from a lidless cup by the time they're on the move.
But once they do start to move, you'll have to start watching that they don't swallow one of those damned button batteries that are used in so many electronic devices these days. Apparently in the two decade period, roughly 66,000 children and teenagers were treated in the emergency rooms for "battery-related injuries." That is a lot of batteries. Fortunately, no one was killed, but they can set off a chemical reaction inside you that results in "severe tissue damage," a frighteningly vague term, in only two hours. So, you'd be wise to try your very best to keep any batteries in your house out of the reach of young children.
Of course, while a little vigilance is useful, it's probably not necessary to become a human-scanning machine, ever on the lookout for button batteries and pernicious pacifiers. If trouble wants to find your child, it will. All you can hope for is that the resulting injury is treatable with a home first aid kit because you probably have a better chance of making it out of a blackhole in a timely manner than you do making it out of an ER.
Sippy Cups and Other Little-Known Childhood Hazards [New York Times]
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