Ceiling fans are landing too many kids in hospital: Doctor warning
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Ceiling fans are landing too many kids in hospital: Doctor warning

Aug 30, 2023

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You’d think it’s common sense, but medical experts are urging parents not to throw their baby in the air because tossing a child could land them in the hospital.

A new study published in Pediatrics found that between 2013 and 2021, emergency rooms saw more than 20,500 ceiling fan-related injuries.

Every year, about 2,300 children are treated for head injuries caused by ceiling fans at US emergency rooms, according to Consumer Product Safety Commission data.

But experts noted that many ceiling fan injuries most likely go unreported, which means that number could even be higher.

“This could be sometimes done playfully and somebody just doesn’t realize the fan is there, or just on accident they’re lifting the kid up and the ceiling is low enough that they hit the fan,” lead researcher Dr. Holly Hughes Garza told US News.

The latest study showed that head injuries from ceiling fans occurred most often in two age groups — less than 1 years old and at 4 years old — but children under 3 years old had twice the risk of injury.

Lacerations were found to be the most commonly treated injury, with ER docs tending to cuts in three out of five (60%) cases, but more serious injuries like concussions and skull fractures were also reported.

Although most injuries are minor, skull fractures were reported in 5% to 18% of cases treated in emergency departments in Australia.

“It’s important to keep in mind we were only looking at kids who went to an emergency room for their injury, so we’re not talking about every kid who bumped their head on a fan,” Garza said. “There’s probably a lot more kids that that happens to and they don’t actually go seek medical care.”

Head injuries should always be inspected and children should be monitored for worrying signs.

Child safety expert Nikki Jurcutz, who operates a children’s safety company called Tiny Hearts Education, revealed three signs that your child’s head injury may need immediate medical attention.

In an Instagram reel, Jurcutz informed watchers about the “three situations when you need to call an ambulance for your child immediately after a head bump”: when the child loses consciousness, vomits more than once or falls a distance more than double their height.

A head injury is any damage to the scalp, skull, brain or other tissue and blood vessels in the head, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, which noted that such injuries “are one of the most common causes of disability and death in children.”

“This is important because moderate to severe head injuries need attention quickly,” Jurcutz said recently on Instagram.

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