Crib Injuries Average 26 Daily in the United States

Emma Hitt, PhD

February 17, 2011

February 17, 2011 — Nearly 10,000 crib injuries in children younger than 2 years are treated in emergency departments in the United States each year, with about two thirds of the injuries resulting from a fall, a new study suggests.

Elaine S. Yeh, BS, and Gary A. Smith, MD, DrPH, FAAP, and colleagues from the Center for Injury Research and Policy, Research Institute, at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio reported their findings online February 17 in Pediatrics.

According to the researchers, this is the first study to use a nationally representative sample to investigate injuries among young children associated with cribs, playpens, and bassinets.

Yeh and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of children younger than 2 years who had been treated in emergency departments in the United States for injuries associated with cribs, playpens, and bassinets. Data from 1990 through 2008 were included in the analysis. During this 19-year study period, an estimated 181,654 (95% confidence interval [CI], 148,548 - 214,761) children younger than 2 years were treated.

On average, there were 9561 cases per year, which is estimated to represent 12.1 injuries per 10,000 children younger than 2 years per year.

Of the injuries, 83.2% were attributed to cribs, 12.6% to playpens, and 4.2% to bassinets. In 66.2% of cases, falls were cited as the main cause of injury. The most common diagnosis was soft-tissue injuries (34.1%), and the most common area of injury was to the head or neck (40.3%).

Patients with fractures were hospitalized 14.0% of the time, making them 5.45 (95% CI, 3.80 - 7.80) times more likely to be hospitalized than patients with other types of injury. Children younger than 6 months were 2.97 (95% CI, 2.07 - 4.24) times more likely to be hospitalized than older children.

"Given the consistently high numbers of these injuries over the 19-year study period, current prevention strategies are clearly insufficient, and greater efforts are required to minimize the hazards associated with these nursery products," the authors note.

"Healthcare professionals, child care providers, parents, and other child caregivers also should be cognizant of the recommendations for proper use of these products," they suggest.

The investigators have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Pediatrics. Published online February 17, 2011.

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