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15-05-2012 | General practice | Article

Pacifiers, baby bottles, and sippy cups pose unexpected danger


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MedWire News: Injury from baby bottles, pacifiers (dummies), or sippy cups in children under the age of 3 years is more common than might be expected, say researchers.

The team believes that the large majority of these injuries could be avoided by making sure that children are transitioned from bottles and sippy cups to standard lidless cups at 1 year of age, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).

Parents are also advised to wean their children off pacifier use from 6 months of age as, in addition to injury risk, their use also increases the risk for ear infections.

As reported in Pediatrics, Sarah Keim (The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA) and colleagues used data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to estimate that 43,398 children younger than 3 years of age were treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained from these products between 1991 and 2010, translating to an average of 2270 cases per year.

Of these injuries, 65.8% were from bottles, 19.9% from pacifiers, and 14.3% from sippy cups. The most common injury was to the mouth, in 71.0% of cases, followed by the head, face, or neck in 19.6% of cases.

"These are products that almost everyone uses," said study co-author Lara McKenzie, a fellow Ohio State University researcher, in a press statement. "Educating parents and caregivers about the importance of transitioning their children away from these products at the ages recommended by the AAP and AAPD could prevent up to 80% of the injuries related to baby bottles, pacifiers, and sippy cups."

Children aged 1 year were significantly more likely to be injured than those aged 2 years or older or younger than 1 year. Specifically, the researchers estimated that 66.4% of all the injuries sustained from these products occurred in 1-year-old children, with 21.3% and 12.3% occurring in those younger than 1 year and 2 years or older, respectively.

"Two-thirds of injuries examined in our study were to 1-year-old children who are just learning to walk and more prone to falls," said Keim.

"Having children sit down while drinking from baby bottles or sippy cups can help reduce the occurrences of these injuries," she concluded.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Helen Albert

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