An article in the Huffington Post caught our attention recently. It listed eight things emergency room doctors refuse to have in their homes. Topping the list were trampolines.
“We see a lot of serious trampoline injuries ... upper-body fractures, broken femurs, neck injuries," said Ferdinando Mirarchi, MD, medical director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, in the article. "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."
Adding his thoughts to why trampolines ranked number one, Mark Olivier, MD, risk management medical advisor, SCP, said, “Even before looking at the [Huffington Post] article, trampoline was on the top of my list. My daughter begged me for years to buy a trampoline. I held my ground and refused due to multiple trampoline related injuries I had seen in the ED.”
Following trampolines were such items as button-shaped batteries, power washers, extension ladders, high chairs (the kind that pull up to the table), and guns.
Interestingly, swimming pools and ramen noodle cups also made the list.
Regarding swimming pools, Dara Kass, MD, assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, said, "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."
(According to a CDC fact sheet, about ten people die from drowning accidents every day, so Dr. Kass’s point is well taken.)
David J. Mathison, MD, regional medical director for PM Pediatrics, a pediatric urgent care center, remarked on the danger posed by ramen noodle cups.
"Ramen noodles, or similar soups in styrofoam containers, get extremely hot when microwaved,” Dr. Mathison said. “It’s the most common cause of scald burns in toddlers and infants I see. Parents forget how hot these are when they’re on the counter, waiting to be pulled off by a handsy toddler."
Another article, from the website The Active Times, said that microwaves often come up in conversations among doctors about unhealthy household products.
Other items on its list include soda pop, processed meats, and cleaning products containing bleach. One doctor, a podiatrist, even added dirty shoes to the list, saying that she prefers people take their shoes off if possible, to prevent tracking germs into the home.
The site also listed other household items that it recommended getting rid of, including harmful chemicals — "anything that has the words danger, corrosive, or explosive written anywhere on the label" — gas space heaters (due to the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning), and even antibacterial soap and hand sanitizers, which contain Triclosan, a chemical that has been linked to hormone problems and infertility.
Rounding out the roster of things EM doctors would never have in their homes, SCP's own Stephen Nichols, MD, chief of clinical operations performance, said, "I never buy glasses that I can’t get my hand down into because I’ve sewn up too many people who were pushing their hands down into a glass and it broke, cutting their hands."
Dr. Nichols said he is very particular about the types of glasses he buys — “I get a few odd looks when I buy glasses,” he said — and keeps a dish brush at the sink, to remedy the glass cleaning problem.