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Everybody Panic: Sippy Cups, Pacifiers, Bottles, and Batteries Cause Thousands of ER Visits

In the latest in Parenting: You’re Doing It Wrong, we bring you the news that sippy cups, pacifiers, and bottles cause thousands of injuries and emergency room visits each year. The journal Pediatrics reports that an average of 2,270 emergency room visits are caused by injuries related to babies and children using sippy cups, pacifiers, and bottles.

It will surprise absolutely no one who actually has kids that the vast majority of these injuries (over 86 percent) are due to falls, and most of the injuries happened to one-year-olds. Product malfunction accounted for only about 4 percent of the injuries.  Yes, folks, it turns out that toddlers fall down and go boom. And if they happen to have something in their mouth at that time, that pacifier, sippy cup, bottle, or whatever the heck your kid happens to be gnawing on (remote control? Wii game disk? Cheerios box?) might hurt your kid’s mouth.

“We think 1-year-old children are just learning to walk and run and are pretty unsteady on their feet and may be more likely to experience a fall,” Dr. Sarah Keim, one of the study authors, told The New York Times.

OMG…really?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children stop using pacifiers by about 6 months and transition from bottles to lidless cups by 12 months. Dr. Keim said that if these guidelines had been followed, “about 80 percent of the children in the study would not have been using the product at the time they were injured.”

This isn’t because normal cups are inherently safer, mind you, but because parents are more likely to make their children sit or stay in one spot while drinking from a lidless cup to prevent spills.

“It’s the combination of being seated while drinking that I think would reduce the risk of injury,” she said.

So I guess the idea here is that yes, your toddler is going to fall down, but if she doesn’t have something in her mouth, at least her mouth won’t get quite so many boo-boos.

Pediatrics also published a new study about kids eating batteries, which is bad for them. The study shows that battery-munching-related injuries are on the rise, with most of the incidents involving button batteries. Some interesting facts from that study:

  • Button batteries accounted for 83 percent of the emergency room visits.
  • The average age of the child involved was 3 .9 years.
  • More boys (60 percent) ate batteries than girls.
  • Battery ingestion accounted for 76.6% of ER visits, followed by nasal cavity insertion (10.2%), mouth exposure (7.5%), and ear canal insertion (5.7%).

Let’s boil these two studies down to usable information for parents, shall we?

  • Kids fall down.
  • They also jam things into their mouth, nose, and ears.
  • Please supervise your children and tell Grandma to keep her hearing aid batteries out of reach.
  • If you turn around for a second and kid jams a AAA Duracell up his nose, you are not alone.


Thanks, science!

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