MONDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- For babies just starting to move around, walking or running while toting a bottle, a pacifier or a sippy cup might be a dangerous pursuit.
From a nationwide survey, researchers estimated that more than 45,000 visits to the emergency room between 1991 and 2010 in children under 3 years old were because of injuries related to using these products.
Most injuries involved children aged between 1 and 2 years who had a bottle and fell and cut their mouth.
"A lot of parents baby-proof their house but don't ever think about the possibility of an injury related to these products," said Sarah Keim, a researcher at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and lead author of the study.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents transition their children from a bottle to a cup between 12 and 15 months of age to avoid problems such as tooth decay. The AAP also recommends weaning babies off pacifiers between 6 and 12 months.
"Following these recommendations might also help reduce injury, so all the more reason to follow them," Keim said.
However, parents will not necessarily increase their children's risk of injury if they don't wean them off bottles and pacifiers by these ages, said Dr. Mark Zonfrillo, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The current study was not designed to test this possibility.
"I think that the normal reasons why we recommend weaning, which is that bottle-feeding has been associated with excessive milk intake, iron deficiency and possible problems with tooth decay, should be the reasons we focus on weaning," Zonfrillo said.
But parents can take steps to prevent injuries with these products, such as staying in the same room with their babies once they are mobile, he added.
The study was published online May 14 and appears in the
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