Bottles and binkies pose hazards for toddlers

By • Published: July 6th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The knife drawer, toxic cleaners, hard-edged tables, tile floors, kitty cat claws … these are things moms and dads tend to worry about when it comes to objects that could hurt an unsuspecting toddler.

Sippy cups, bottles and pacifiers are solidly in most parents’ safe-for-little-one list, along with snuggly teddy bears.

But, as many parents know, almost anything can pose a hazard when it comes to your child … and staples like bottles and binkies are no exception. In fact, a new study in the journal Pediatrics shows that more than 2,000 children under 3 wind up in emergency rooms each year for injuries related to bottles, sippy cups and pacifiers. The study’s authors say this is equivalent to one child every four hours.

The problem, generally, is not the objects themselves, but what kids do when they have them. One-year-olds faced the most risk because that’s prime age for learning to walk, and toddlers fall … a lot. When children fall with a bottle or binky, cuts and injuries to the face, teeth and mouth can occur.

According to the study, two-thirds of injuries were related to bottles and one-fifth involved pacifiers. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to wean babies from pacifiers around 6 months of age.

A-A-P guidelines also call for parents to switch from bottles to regular cups when baby turns 1 and is beginning to walk. However, a Canadian study found that nearly 90 percent of children between 1 and 2 use sippy cups with lids. Because these cups prevent spills, children often walk around with them, increasing their risk of injury.

Short of strapping your toddler into a helmet, here are a few tips to keep your tot safe. Follow A-A-P guidelines and wean from bottles at age 1. Also, avoid letting your child walk around with drinks or objects in his or her mouth.

It just might save you a trip to the emergency room.