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Children's Health

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Bottles, Binkies, and Batteries Send Kids to ER

Injuries Caused by Batteries, Baby Bottles, Sippy Cups, and Pacifiers on the Rise

Comfort Items Can Be Dangerous continued...

Researchers say it's the first study to look specifically at injuries in young children caused by bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups.

Overall, the number of injuries caused by these products was small compared with the injuries caused by other baby products like cribs, bassinets, and playpens. But researchers say they represent an important and growing source of injuries over the last 20 years.

Given the risks associated with baby bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups among young children, researchers recommend children not use these products beyond the intended ages. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children transition from a sippy cup to a regular cup around age 1.

Button Batteries Pose Risks

In the second study, researchers analyzed battery-related injuries among children under 18 treated in ERs from 1990 to 2009 using the same national injury database.

The results showed a total of 65,788 children were treated for injuries caused by batteries over the 20-year period. The number of battery-related injuries rose significantly during the last eight years of the study.

Most injuries (about 77%) were the result of swallowing the battery, especially among children aged 5 years or younger. Other injuries included inserting the battery in the nose or ear.

Button batteries were implicated in nearly 84% of emergency room visits where the battery type was known.

Researchers say the increasing rate of battery-related injuries among children deserves increased prevention efforts by parents and caregivers.

"Young children have a natural tendency to explore their environment by placing batteries and other objects into their mouths," write researcher Samantha Sharpe, of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and colleagues. "Child caregivers should ensure that batteries are stored out of the reach of children and discarded properly."

Researchers also recommend that battery compartments of all electronic devices are taped shut.

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