The doctor said: No more children jumping on the bed

September 13, 2005

Typically, parents worry about their children bumping their heads or wearing out mattresses when they catch them jumping on the bed. But parents should also be wary of injuries from broken wires inside worn-out mattresses.

Dante Pappano, MD, an attending physician in the Children's Emergency Department at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong, published a paper in August's Pediatric Emergency Care journal about a case of a Rochester boy who was injured when a wire snapped inside the mattress and imbedded itself in his foot. Pappano said the 2002 injury surprised him, so he did more research.

Pappano visited a local mattress manufacturer and two retail mattress stores. He gutted an old mattress from his own home and another his mother-in-law planned to toss out. Eventually, he hypothesized that the wire was a piece from a long, straight wire that held the boy's mattress coils upright and hooked onto a frame at either end. Pappano said that type of construction is not common, and he believes it is generally found only in older, inexpensive mattresses.

Although the boy fully recovered, Pappano felt compelled to publish "Don't Jump on the Bed" for other emergency room physicians as well as for parents. He said he had not expected the wire to be hooked on the end and found out only by taking an X-ray. Removing it meant making an incision; pulling it out would have done more damage. He wanted other physicians to be aware that a wire injury from jumping on a bed could require the same treatment.

The wire injury does not seem to be common, but Pappano still warned against allowing children to jump on mattresses.

"If you have an older, cheap mattress, you'd be better off not jumping on it," he said.
-end-


University of Rochester Medical Center

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