Emergency room physicians see some pretty gruesome stuff on a daily basis, so it begs the question: What everyday items do they consider too dangerous to have in their own homes?
From ramen noodles to batteries, here are the everyday items that scare the front-liners the most.
Ferdinando Mirarchi MD, medical director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre:
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.
Ramen noodle soups
David J. Mathison, MD said:
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 [the noodles] are when they’re on the counter, waiting to be knocked off by a handsy toddler.
David J. Mathison, MD, pediatric emergency room physician and mid-Atlantic regional medical director, PM Pediatrics said:
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.
Power washers and extension ladders
Seth Podolsky, MD, vice chair of Cleveland Clinic Emergency Medicine Institute:
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.
Old pain pills
Ferdinando Mirarchi, MD:
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.
High chairs that pull up to the table
Brian Fort, MD, emergency medicine physician at Central DuPage Hospital:
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 one 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 three feet can cause a skull fracture.
Dara Kass, MD, assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Centre:
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.
If you’re going to pick on Ramen, surely that goes for any hot drink as well…