Baby bottles, pacifiers, and child sippy cups are essential items but they pose serious risks of injuries to small children.
According to a report from HealthDay News, these common and ubiquitous products are responsible for more than 45,000 serious injuries to children since the early 1990s. The report indicates that many children were admitted to hospital emergency rooms due to cuts and other injuries suffered when a baby fell with one of these items in their mouths or through another means.
The statistics come from a nationwide survey conducted by Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. Their study on the dangers of baby bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups is published in the latest edition of the journal Pediatrics. The study combed the records collected by the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which connects more than 100 hospitals to a nationwide database.
Among the 45,000 injuries to children, more than 2,200 recorded by the network were linked to baby bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups. These injuries were among children under 3 years old. That figure allowed researchers to estimate the larger total to include hospitals not included in the network. Of those, more than two-thirds were reported among children under the age of 2.
Further detailing the injuries, most were caused by a baby bottle and even more were prompted by a fall. When children first learn to walk, it is not uncommon for them to move about with a bottle, pacifier, or sippy cup in their mouths. Since they’re so unbalanced learning to walk, they are more likely fall with these products in their mouths, putting them at risk of cuts, bruises, and other injuries.
Pacifiers were responsible for about 20 percent of the injuries suffered by small children. Mostly, these injuries were suffered by children less than 1 year old. Most of those injuries were reported as bruises or damage to growing teeth. Sippy cups were more likely to injure children under the age of 2 and usually led to problems with head, neck, and face.
More than 1,300 injuries were due to swallowing or inhaling one of these products. Nearly 1,900 more were caused by burns, and just more than 1,800 injuries were reported as bone fractures.
While many of these injuries were not of the serious variety, there were seven deaths reported since 1991 involving incidents related to a baby bottle, sippy cup, or pacifier. Those injuries were not included in this most recent study, the report indicates.
The best way to reduce the risks is to wean children from these products as soon as possible. Researchers also noted that injuries related to these products reduced by 41 percent over time.