Babies are most vulnerable to injuries because they are helpless by themselves and need all the attention and care from their parents and caregivers. Injuries to babies can be prevented when the adults who provide them care understand the most common sources of injuries in babies.
Statistics collected from the period 2001 to 2004 show that in the U.S. alone, about 1.3 million babies are sent to emergency department of hospitals for treatment of nonfatal accidental injuries yearly. These numbers from a national surveillance system from the initiatives of Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), are expected to be much higher at present.
Types of Babies’ Injuries
Here are the most common types of injuries of babies:
- Head injuries – They usually come from falls from beds, cribs, stairs, infant seats, highchairs, furniture, slippery floors and play equipment.
- Burns – These include accidental burn injuries from hot liquids, hot water heater, and bathwater with temperatures above 49 degrees Celsius,
- Injuries from choking – Common things that can cause choking are food, toys, coins, or other small objects.
- Nose injuries – These may often result from falling on a hard surface.
- Cuts and scratches – Your baby’s own fingernails as well as sharp and pointed objects may cause these injuries.
- Fractures and sprains – Hard falls are again a common culprit here. Babies’ bones tend to break more easily compared to adults; they have growth plates, which are soft areas near the end of each bone.
- Contusions – These are bruises under the skin, usually caused by bumps and falls.
- Eye injuries – Dust, chemicals in the form of liquid, spray or powder or other types of foreign matter that get into the baby’s eyes may cause eye injuries.
Causes of Babies’ Injuries
Based on the results of the same study by CDC and CPSC, the most common causes of infant injuries are:
- Falls – This is the leading cause of baby injuries. About 13% of all infant accidental injuries annually are from falls.
- Being hit, struck or crushed by a hard object – More than 3% of the injuries every year are from this group of causes. Vehicular or machine related accidents are not included in these types of causes.
- Fire or burns – This is third highest cause of baby injuries in terms of cases, although only 5% of the victims from this cause were hospitalized.
Though the incidence of injuries in babies from the following causes is less, they are just as dangerous:
- Drowning – About half of all victims from drowning were hospitalized.
- Suffocation or inhalation of toxic gas – 11% of babies who sustained injuries from these causes underwent hospitalization.
- Motor vehicle – 9.5% of babies who sustained injuries from motor vehicle accidents were hospitalized.
- Foreign body – Injuries from this cause hospitalized 9% of the babies who were affected.
Based on the figures on babies’ injuries and what cause them, the following things in the babies’ environment are considered most dangerous for them, so the babies should be watched more carefully when around them:
- Beds – Babies fall from, roll or slide off them. They are the top things linked to baby injuries up to 12 months old.
- Car seats – In injuries linked to car seats, babies either lurch out of them or the car seat falls with the baby.
- Stairs – It is among the top things linked to injuries to babies at every age.
- Stroller – A thing to watch out for, especially for two to four month old babies.
Parents and caregivers should ensure that the baby’s environment is as safe as possible to keep the baby injury-free. More than this, they should be aware of and anticipate the baby’s first year motor milestones and the risk of injury associated with them. This way, injuries to the baby will be better prevented.
Can Chiropractic Care Treat Baby Injuries?
Many parents fear chiropractic treatment for babies’ ill conditions and injuries, and this is not surprising. Since babies have soft bones and fragile structure, utmost care should really be observed. However, chiropractic care aims to simply take the pressure or nerve stress off the spine of an individual to restore proper function of all body organs – and this may be applicable to babies, toddlers, and children and perfectly safe for them too.
While not all baby injuries may be healed by chiropractic adjustment, there are some conditions that can be helpful in restoring the normal and healthy condition of babies, including muscle strains, head and neck injuries, and back pain, as well as other non-injury health conditions including colic problems, digestive problems, sleep irregularity, and breathing difficulties.