Emergency room physicians see all kinds of grisly stuff, which made us wonder: What products do they consider so hazardous they ban them from their homes and yards? Here are the everyday items that scare these accident front-liners the most.
“We see a lot of serious trampoline injuries…upper-body fractures, broken femurs, neck injuries. That’s why most ER doctors I work with won’t buy trampolines for their kids. They’re all trouble. There’s no good kind. Unfortunately parents get a false sense of reassurance; when there’s a net around something, they think their kids will be safe.”– Dr. Ferdinando Mirarchi, medical director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
“Button batteries are increasingly common in car remotes and portable LED lights but they can be extremely dangerous to young kids. Toddlers like shiny objects and will ingest them. The danger is they can get stuck in the esophagus. When a coin gets stuck, it often passes on its own. But when a button battery gets stuck, the battery acid can eat through the wall of the esophagus, causing lifelong disability.”—Dr. David J. Mathison, pediatric emergency room physician and mid-Atlantic regional medical director, PM Pediatrics
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“Unfortunately, every summer we see kids—even ones who can swim—accidentally fall into a pool and drown. For me, it is the fact that drowning occurs so fast, and often silently, that prevents me from ever wanting one at my house. All three of my children are swimmers, and we take them to pools, but I know that where I live I have left that risk behind.” — Dr. Dara Kass, assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center
Power washers and extension ladders
“There are two items I don’t keep around: power washers and extension ladders. We often treat people who have fallen off of high ladders, which results in serious and extensive injuries (head trauma, collapsed lungs). The surprising thing I won’t own is a power washer. People end up with penetrating injuries or lacerations from their intense water stream. ” — Dr. Seth Podolsky, vice chair of Cleveland Clinic Emergency Medicine Institute
Ramen noodle soups
“Ramen noodles, or similar soups in styrofoam containers, get extremely hot when microwaved. It’s the most common cause of scald burns in toddlers and infants I see. Parents forget how hot these are when they’re on the counter, waiting to be pulled off by a handsy toddler.”—Dr. David J. Mathison.
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Old pain pills
“People hang onto leftover pills, especially narcotic painkillers because they’re getting harder to get scripts for. But you should always get rid of leftover medication. We’ve had more kids coming in with overdoses from hydrocodone and oxycodone pain drugs [found in Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycontin]. Just one extended-release pill can kill a child.”—Dr. Ferdinando Mirarchi.
High chairs that pull up to the table
“I work at a pediatric and adult trauma center, but being a dad, most of my biggest issues are with child products. Over half of ER visits for children under 1 are due to falls. I wouldn’t get a high chair that pulls up to the table, because I’ve seen way too many kids use their feet to push against the table and tip their chair over backward. A fall like this from 3 feet can cause a skull fracture.”–Dr. Brian Fort, emergency medicine physician at Central DuPage Hospital