Sippy cups, batteries send kids to ER

Kristi King,

WASHINGTON – Moms always say not to run with scissors, but as it turns out, there are plenty of other dangers for parents to be aware of, including batteries and even sippy cups.

Emergency rooms have seen lots tens of thousands of children for injuries around the home, according to two studies.

Enough toddlers fall victim to baby bottles, pacifiers and sippy cups to land one child in the ER every four hours.

Toddlers walking or running with bottles, pacifiers and sippy cups in their mouths are prone to injury, a study by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio finds.

Most of the injuries are mouth related, 71 percent. 20 percent of the injuries involve a child’s head, face or neck. Sixty six percent of injuries are from baby bottles, 20 percent from pacifiers, 14 percent from sippy cups.

Researchers examining date from 1991 to 2010 say most of the injuries involve falls. To avoid accidents, parents should have toddlers sit down to drink.

Also, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend parents should stop giving toddlers baby bottles and transition them from sippy cups to open cups when they are about a year old. Pediatricians also recommend babies limit use of pacifiers at six months. Babies using pacifiers after six months are more likely to get ear infections.

Another study, also by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, finds the number of emergency room visits related to children and batteries has more than doubled since 1990.

The study finds 84 percent of the visits involve button batteries — those small buttons found in tech gadgets.

Newer three-volt, 20-millimeter lithium batteries are twice as powerful as previous batteries. If one gets caught in a child’s esophagus, it can take less than two hours for it to burn a hole through the esophagus, causing serious injury or even death, according to researchers.

The study’s lead author notes most battery injuries are related to items used by adults:

  • Watches — 14 percent;
  • Calculators — 22 percent;
  • Flashlights — 9 percent;
  • Remote controls — 6 percent.

Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, wants manufacturers to make items housing button batteries child resistant, and recommends parents tape battery compartments shut and keep batteries out of reach of young children.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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