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Health & Baby

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Cribs Frequent Cause of Injury for Babies, Toddlers

Study: About 1 Child Every Hour Is Taken to ER After Being Hurt Around a Crib, Playpen, Bassinet

How Kids Get Hurt in Cribs continued...

About 15% of injuries resulted from falling inside the crib or hitting or being cut on the inside of the crib. About 6% resulted from becoming caught or wedged in the crib.

The vast majority of injuries were not life-threatening.

Soft-tissue injuries, including bruises and scrapes, were the most common, representing about a third of all reported injuries. But in about one in five cases, a child was rushed to the emergency room with a concussion. Fractures represented 12% of injuries; lacerations, or cuts, made up 14%.

“The thing about it, being a parent, is that children will roll over for the first time or sit up for the first time or stand for the first time when you’re not expecting it,” Smith says. “All of a sudden, one day, they’re doing it, and I think parents are just simply caught off-guard.”

About 1% of children died, sometimes after becoming caught or wedged in the crib. Most of these deaths involved a diagnosis of suffocation or sudden infant death syndrome. Two-thirds of the deaths occurred in babies younger than 6 months.

Part of the problem, experts say, is that parents think that it’s safe to put soft products like pillows, blankets, and crib bumpers in cribs, when those products can be dangerous in two ways.

Infants may roll over into soft material and suffocate while they are sleeping. Babies who are older and stronger, on the other hand, may use materials like bumpers to pull themselves out.

“What we’ve looked at before have been deaths associated with sleep areas, and one of the big issues is that in trying to prevent injuries, many parents will put pillows and bumper pads in cribs to try to prevent injuries,” Moon says, when in reality, these kinds of materials are often the problem.

“The only thing that should be in the crib is the baby,” Moon says.

The study authors say a big part of the problem has been flaws in crib manufacturing and design that have led in recent years to the recalls of more than 11 million cribs, many of them drop-side models.

“This is all because cribs have just had a terrible track record,” Craig says. “The design hasn’t really changed for over two decades, so right now we’re seeing a big shift in our understanding of how to make them safer.”

In June, new government regulations will take effect that prevent the sale of drop-side cribs, a design that has contributed to 32 deaths, studies show, since 2000.

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