New warnings for parents, and a rise in sleepwalking

May 14, 2012 6:38:21 PM PDT
New warnings for parents about products that could hurt their children are out.

Button batteries

The Consumer Product Safety Commission raised the flag about the dangers of button batteries just about a year ago. Medical researchers began looking in it and have discovered the problem is very serious and growing.

The problem of children swallowing button batteries is widespread, according to the new nationwide research. One reason is that they can now be found in almost every room in the house, in remote controls, in watches, in calculators and even in greeting cards. As their use has surged, so has the number of injuries.

"What we found in recent years was that about 5500 children a year are seen in emergency departments. That's one every 90 minutes," Dr. Gary Smith said.

That's double the number of 20 years ago. Batteries are now more dangerous too.

"They look fun to swallow (to young children). It turns out they burn holes in your esophagus or in your intestines and they can be really, really dangerous or life-threatening," Dr. Ellen Rome of Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital said.

The researchers are calling for tougher standards for products with button batteries.

Potential In-Mouth Dangers

Pacifiers, bottles and sippy cups are also being flagged as potentially dangerous to toddlers, especially those just starting to walk, often with these products in their mouths.

The problem accounts for two thousand emergency room visits a year.

"They tend to trip and fall quite a bit. If they're walking with one of these products in their mouth, they could injure their mouth or their face," Dr. Sarah Keim said.

Experts say stop using pacifiers at six months and don't let toddlers try walking with sippy cups or bottles

Sleepwalking on the increase

Speaking of walking, it appears adults are doing more of it in their sleep. A new study found 3.6 percent of American adults sleepwalk. That's up 2 percent from a decade ago.

Exact causes are unknown, but it is thought medications and conditions like anxiety and depression could trigger it.

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