22-month old Morgan has always been a happy baby with a wide, easy smile just like her mother. But Morgan's smile was altered a bit six weeks ago when she chipped her tooth after falling with a baby bottle in her mouth.
"She wasn't walking around with it, she was just reaching for me and lost her balance," said Jackie Sherrill, Morgan's mother.
Morgan cut her lip, but her injury was minor compared to the more than 45,000 children who've had to go to the emergency room with an injury involving a baby bottle, sippy cup or pacifier. Most of the injuries involved kids around age one, according to Dr. Sarah Keim of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
"That's really the age when children are just starting to learn to walk. They're a little unsteady on their feet and more likely to trip and fall," said Dr. Keim.
Dr. Keim and her team of researchers studied 20 years' worth of nationwide data on such emergency room visits.
Most of the little patients had suffered cuts on or around the mouth, and most injuries involved a baby bottle. Falling while using a pacifier or sippy cup also led to lacerations and bruising.
Parents may reduce the risk of injuries by weaning their children at an appropriate time. Experts say that's about six-months for a pacifier and a year for bottles. And like little Morgan has learned, experts say kids should stay seated when drinking from a bottle.