gurumommy is welcoming back our resident pediatrician, Dr. Larry Kagan, MD, FAAP and his column, ‘from the doctor’. Dr. Kagan’s brand new pediatrics practice, Westside Pediatrics is located conveniently 12301 Wilshire Boulevard in Brentwood (www.WSPeds.net, 310-979-7337). Today Dr. Kagan tells us about preventable injuries:
While most parents take appropriate precautions to avoid choking hazards, very few consider a popsicle stick to be a potentially lethal projectile. Unfortunately, penetration of the oral cavity by innocent appearing objects is commonly managed at pediatric trauma centers worldwide. The typical scenario includes a crawling, running or jumping child falling onto an object they are holding in their mouth. Potential offending agents include lollipop / popsicle sticks, toothbrushes, toys, pens, pencils, even broom handles. While the vast majority of these injuries result in nothing more than a cut and minor bleeding, on occasion much more profound injuries are sustained even with gentle falls.
The severity of the injury depends on what structures are injured. The deep portion of the oral cavity is surrounded by vital structures including the internal carotid arteries (laterally) and the central nervous system (posteriorly). Even when these structures are untouched, deep penetration may introduce infection into the mediastinal space (the sac that contains the heart and major vascular structures). Since severe complications due to injuries in this area are not always immediately evident, any significant oral injury should be evaluated by a qualified pediatrician or trauma center.
The best defense is a strong offense. It is important we instruct and remind our children to keep things out of their mouth especially when running or playing.