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Christmas Cords Pose Danger to Little Ones
Holiday extension cords, wires not safe around curious tots, who put everything in their mouths, researchers say

By Robert Preidt

FRIDAY, Dec. 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- While electrical burns to young children's mouths are rare, parents need to be aware that the danger is greatest during the holidays when extension cords and electrical wires are in plain sight, researchers report.

"Although we often worry about injury from toppled appliances, parents also should be aware of the potential for electrical burns to the mouth caused by a child mouthing the end or biting through an electrical cord," study co-author Dr. David Chang said. Chang is an associate professor of otolaryngology at the University of Missouri.

"In 1974, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated 1,000 injuries associated with extension or appliance cord burns in a single year. Our study found that these injuries have decreased drastically to about 65 injuries a year. However, even one injury is too many when it can be prevented," Chang said in a university news release.

He and his colleagues analyzed U.S. government data. They uncovered 1,042 emergency room visits for children who suffered electrical cord burns to the mouth between 1997 and 2012, an average of 65.1 cases a year.

Nearly three-quarters of those E.R. visits involved children under age 5. Seventy-seven percent were treated and released; the rest were admitted or transferred to a higher level of care. Most injuries involved electrical outlets, extension cords and electrical wires, the researchers said.

The findings were published earlier this year in the journal Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

"These injuries are largely unintentional and avoidable," study co-author Dr. Lauren Umstattd said in the news release.

"Due to their curiosity, young children are particularly at risk for oral electrical burns caused by household electrical cords, outlets and appliances. These burns can lead to devastating functional and cosmetic complications, which may require multiple corrective operations. We want families to be informed and safe while enjoying the holiday season," said Umstattd, a resident physician in the department of otolaryngology - head and neck surgery.

The study authors offered several safety tips:

  • Install tamper-resistant outlets or outlet covers.
  • Inspect cords for damage before use and check for damaged sockets or loose wires. If a cord is hot to the touch, don't use it.
  • Keep unprotected cords out of sight and away from foot traffic to avoid tripping. Don't run a cord under a rug, which may cause the cord to overheat.
  • Be vigilant when kids or pets are near electrical cords and outlets.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers holiday safety tips.

SOURCE: University of Missouri, news release, Dec. 19, 2016

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=718007

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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