Any parent knows that seemingly safe items in one’s home take on a new, potentially risky light when there’s a newborn baby, infant, or toddler in the home. After all, childproofing one’s home is a veritable rite of passage among new parents. But recent research shows that pacifiers, baby bottles, and sippy cups pose an injury risk to children that may surprise you.
In 2012 the journal Pediatrics published a study which showed that 45,000 children under age three went to the emergency room between 1991 and 2010 for injuries caused by these supposedly baby-friendly items. The cause of such injuries? It seems that parents do not wean their children from these items before learning to walk, and anyone who’s ever seen a wobbly infant learning how to move on two feet knows, stumbles and falls are par for the course. And according to the New York Times, despite current American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines to wean children from pacifiers by six months and from bottles by 12 months, “studies show that nearly half of 1- and 2-year-olds continue to use bottles, and more than three quarters of children 1 to 2 drink from sippy cups.”
Furthermore, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) points to another risk of overreliance on sippy cups: "When kids sip for extended periods on sugared beverages, they’re exposed to a higher risk of decay," says Philip H. Hunke, president of AAPD. The AAPD reports that a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that between 1999 and 2002, cavities among children ages two to five increased more than 15 percent compared to 1988–1994.
To ensure that your child is on the path to good dental health, it is crucial to follow current pediatric guidelines and begin regular dental visits for your child. The AAPD advises parents to begin taking children to the dentist by a child’s first birthday, and sooner if teeth have begun to come in. At The Schiff Dental Group, we provide quality dental care to adults and children beginning at age one. Request an appointment here.