Before your child severely damages his mouth or slows his development, come see how continued use of bottles, sippy cups, and pacifiers can be dangerous.

Hazards of Baby Bottles, Pacifiers, and Sippy Cups

A poorly designed pacifier, bottle, or sippy cup can pose a significant risk to an infantWhether you’re a new parent or a veteran parent with small children, safety is your number one priority. Although others may come into your home and think you’ve gone a little overboard with the bubble-wrapped tables and safety guards, you know that protecting your child is important. From bumper pads to allergen safe food, you have your child covered. Unfortunately, no matter how diligent you are about baby-proofing your home, children are susceptible to many injuries caused by threats you would never have recognized as potential hazards.

These threats can include baby bottles, sippy cups, and pacifiers.

Oral Hazards

Most parents are relieved when their children are old enough to hold their own drinks and feed themselves. Not only does this independence allow a child to fend for himself, but it also takes the guesswork out of determining when the child is thirsty or needs a comforting pacifier. Unfortunately, bottles, pacifiers and other objects meant to be placed in baby’s mouths have been found to cause potential risks, especially in the event that a child falls with the object in his mouth.

Every year, approximately 2,200 children under three years old are seen in emergency rooms for injuries caused consumer goods for the mouth. The objects responsible for these injuries are:

  • Bottles, responsible for 65.8% of ER visits.
  • Pacifiers, which cause 19.9% of ER visits.
  • Sippy cups, responsible for 14.3% of ER visits.

Many more injuries occur as well, but the severity of the wounds may not warrant an ER visit. The most common injuries caused by these devices occur as a result of the child stumbling or falling with it in his mouth, leading to the following:

  • Lacerations. Cuts are the most common injuries, as the fall violently forces the bottle or pacifier across the lips, causing scraping and irritation.
  • Choking. The impact force of a fall can also cause the bottle or pacifier to be jammed deeper into the child’s mouth. Depending on the situation, the nipple of the object can irritate the back of the throat, which can lead to coughing, gagging, and even vomiting.
  • Death. If a foreign object blocks an infant’s airway, the child could choke to death or asphyxiate on his vomit.

In addition to impact threats, sippy cups and pacifiers can also hamper a child’s oral development. Prolonged sucking on an artificial nipple can affect development of the airway, promote crooked teeth, and cause potential speech impediments.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents should help their children make a transition away from bottles and pacifiers between six months and one year. Sippy cups should also only be used up until the child can walk and run. However, these guidelines are not consistently followed, as each child follows a different development path.

No matter how or when you decide to move your child from nipple-based containers, it’s important to monitor his behavior to ensure that he refrains from running and jumping with the objects in his mouth.

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