Cotton Swabs Send around 12,000 Children to the ER Every Year

cotton swabs

A lot of children come to the ER with injuries produced by cotton swabs

New research shows that cotton swabs send more than 12,500 kids to the ER every year. Daily, in the US, more than 34 children are injured by these cotton tip applicators. Researchers warn parents not to use these products for cleaning and not to let children use them.

This new research was published in the Journal of Pediatrics and was conducted by researchers from The Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It highlights the dangers of leaving children unsupervised with cotton swabs and the severity of the injures which they might cause.

Cotton swabs are not for ear cleaning

Most parents use cotton swabs to clean the ears of their children. However, doctors warn their patients that these cotton tip applicators are not meant for ear cleaning, and advise them to either use other methods or let the ear canals naturally clean themselves.

Despite this, many children end up to the ER with injuries provoked by these objects. After looking at data collected from 1990 to 2010, researchers found more than 264,000 cases of such injuries.

Most of the injuries occurred while children used the applicators by themselves

Cotton swabs push the wax into the ear drum instead of removing it from the canal. This can cause severe injury to the ear, especially in the case of small children, who are more sensitive. However, not all injuries occurred during cleaning.

Ten percent of the cases involved children playing with the applicators, while 9 percent had kids who fell while having cotton swabs in their ears.However, parents are not completely guilt-free. Around 16 percent of the time, the injuries occurred while an adult was cleaning the ears of the child.

While most accidents happen among younger and more sensitive children, or when they use cotton swabs without adult supervision, these applicators are still dangerous. They are not for cleaning use, and parents should keep them out of reach of their children.


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