Blame It On Binky: Sippy Cups, Pacifiers And A Trip To The Emergency Room

At a recent baby shower, a pregnant colleague received a pacifier with an attached fuzzy lamb — easier to find and keep in the infants’ mouth. We all oohed and ahhed. But perhaps this darling little sucking device should have come with a black box warning: a new study found that every four hours a child is treated in the emergency department for injuries related to her pacifier, sippy cup or baby bottle.

In what’s being called the first study of its kind, researchers estimate that on average 2,270 injuries per year in the U.S. are related to mishaps involving these ostensibly soothing devices. Most of the accidents examined here involved falls with the product in the child’s mouth.

A new source of parental anxiety: pacifiers, bottles and sippy cups (Nationwide Children's Hospital)

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, and conducted by researchers at the Center for Biobehavioral Health and the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital also found (according to the news release):

…that from 1991 to 2010, an estimated 45,398 children younger than three years of age were treated in U.S. emergency departments for injuries related to the use of these products. This equates to an average of 2,270 injuries per year, or one child treated in a hospital emergency department every four hours for these injuries.

The study [released online May 14 and published in the June print issue of Pediatrics] found that baby bottles accounted for 66 percent of injuries, followed by pacifiers at 20 percent and sippy cups at 14 percent. Body regions most commonly injured were the mouth (71 percent) and the head, face or neck (20 percent). Continue reading