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Crib Injuries Land Thousands of Toddlers in ER Each Year
Date:2/17/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Each year in the United States, nearly 10,000 children under the age of 2 arrive in emergency rooms with injuries suffered while in cribs, playpens and bassinets, a new report shows.

Most of these injuries involve cribs and are usually caused by kids climbing out and falling on the floor, said the researchers from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

"The most surprising thing to me was the number of crib-related injuries we found being treated in hospital emergency departments," said lead researcher Dr. Gary A Smith, a professor of pediatrics and director of the hospital's Center for Injury Research and Policy.

"This is an underestimate," he said. "We know that children are taken to their private physician and urgent care centers."

Smith noted that only about 1 percent of the injuries involved a parent or sibling: "It appears that most of these falls are children climbing out of the crib and falling."

In most cases, the children landed head first, Smith noted, which "really makes this an issue that we should pay attention to." Children at that age are top-heavy, so when they fall they fall head first and don't have the ability to break their fall these injuries can be serious, he explained.

Smith added that as the children became more mobile, the number of injuries increased. "So, parents need to be cautious when a child is in a crib and can start to pull himself up," Smith said.

When that happens, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, you need to lower the height of the mattress in the crib so there is at least 26 inches between the top of the mattress and the top of the rail, Smith said.

And when the child reaches about 35 inches in height he or she should be taken out of the crib and start using a toddler bed, Smith added.

The report is published in the Feb. 17 onli
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