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There's no shortage of strange ways a child can get hurt. Parents can diligently childproof their home, always buckle youngsters into car seats and never leave children alone in the tub, yet, kids will somehow find unexpected ways to injure themselves.
"We live in a world designed by adults, for the convenience of adults, and the safety of children is often not considered," said Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Whether it's toppling TV sets or chomping on laundry-detergent pods, there are many hidden hazards that can pose a threat to kids.
Parental supervision is often not sufficient to prevent injuries in kids, Smith said, because it's not humanly possible for parents to be there 100 percent of the time. "There are going to be lapses of supervision," he said.
Parents need to know when they can turn their back because their child is in a safe, familiar play area, and which situations require watching their kids all the time because there is no margin for error, such as when kids are in or around water, Smith noted.
Here are nine ways that children may hurt themselves, including threats that some safety-conscious parents may never have imagined could be dangerous.
Bouncy housesSlide 2 of 19
The number of children getting hurt on inflatable bouncy houses is rising steadily. A 2012 report in the journal Pediatrics estimated that nearly 65,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency rooms forbouncy-house-related injuriesbetween 1990 and 2010.
More than half of these injuries were in children ages 6 to 12, and more than one-third of the injuries were inchildren under age 5. Most injuries were caused by falling and involved fractures or sprains, usually to the arms and legs.
"We're not saying children shouldn't use them, because we want kids to have an active lifestyle," Smith explained. However, adult supervision is needed to minimize collisions and discourage high-risk moves, such as flips, Smith said. He also suggested making sure that children using the bouncy house at the same time be a similar age and weight.Slide 3 of 19
Button batteriesSlide 4 of 19
Small, round and shiny, button batteries can easily catch the eye of a curious child. More kids are noticing these coin-size batteries at home, since this type of battery is becoming an increasingly popular way to power everything from toys and TV remotes to watches and cameras. In fact, a recent study linked button batteries with nearly 84 percent of children's battery-related emergency-room visits between 1990 and 2009.
Instances of little kids accidentally swallowing higher-voltage lithium batteries have also become more frequent.
"[The battery] can lodge in the esophagus, where it can burn a hole in less than two hours," Smith said.
To prevent these incidents from occurring, parents can tape the battery compartments of household items shut and store extra batteries out of youngsters’ reach.Slide 5 of 19
Car-seat dermatitisSlide 6 of 19
Little ones can get big, itchy rashes, including a newly recognized type known as car-seat dermatitis.
The condition typically results from hot temperatures, sweaty surfaces, and a shiny, nylon-like car-seat material coming in contact with a baby's skin. More commonly seen in late spring through early fall, this red rash usually flares up on exposed skin on the back of infants’ legs, elbows and scalp.
Dermatologists are still unsure of its exact cause, but they suspect the skin irritation may be triggered by an allergy to a foam used in nylon-lined car seats, or a reaction to a flame retardant used by manufacturers to prevent mold. The rash often can be avoided by placing a barrier, such as cotton padding or a soft sheet, as a liner between the child's skin and the seat's nylon surface.Slide 7 of 19
Hair-thread tourniquet syndromeSlide 8 of 19