(Reuters Health) – Accidents on sofas and beds are now the main cause of injuries for children aged 4 and younger in the US and the main cause of trauma in children, new research says.
"Parents, family members and guardians need to be aware of the risk of leaving a child or child unattended on a bed or sofa, no matter how soft the furniture looks or how far they place their baby", says co-author Dr. Viachaslau Bradko for Reuters Health by e-mail.
"Just as health care providers discuss special child safety seats, they should remind families of the danger of benign furniture for a childless child," said Bradko, an orthopedic surgeon at the Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.
His team presented their findings on November 5 at the annual conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Orlando, Florida.
Researchers analyzed the decade of emergency treatment data from the National Injury Tracking System at the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Sampling and analysis showed that between 2007 and 2016, 2.3 million children under 5 years of age were treated for soothers and bed injuries. This means an average annual injury of 115.2 per 10,000 children in this age group in the total population.
Numbers place soft furniture rather than other causes of injury. The most common cause of stair-related accidents was an average of 46.8 per 10,000 children during the study period.
"We were surprised at how frequent these injuries were, in fact, we found that they were three times more common than stair injuries," Bradko said.
Children under 12 months of age suffered more than the average proportion of soft furniture injuries, representing 27.7% of the total. The youngest patients were also more than twice as likely to need hospitalization.
The boys did a little more injured than the girl, 55 percent versus 45 percent. Damage to soft tissue and tearing was the most common type of injury, and three out of five had injuries on their face and head.
If the good news is, it can happen that few of these injuries – only 2.7 percent – require hospitalization. But the bad news is that these injuries seem to be getting more and more frequent. During the study period, bed and sofa related injuries increased by almost 17 percent overall.
"In fact, numbers are even higher, because not all falls lead to a child going to the emergency room," Dr. Jordan Taylor of Stanford University Medical School, California, who did not participate in the research.
"As the authors say, these falls often do not lead to hospitalization, but the cost of all emergency departments' visits is significant. Education and prevention are probably the key to reversing this trend, although more studies looking deeper into injury models could be useful," Taylor noted.
SOURCE: https://bit.ly/2PhWNOE meeting of the American Academy of Paediatrics, online November 5, 2018.