Press Releases

2001 Releases

Study Quantifies Children's Mouthing of Objects

For immediate release: January 08, 2001

Boston, MA.--A study evaluating children's mouthing of non-food objects finds that children under three years old spend an average of 36 minutes per day mouthing non-pacifier objects, less than previously thought. The study is published in the current issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.pediatrics.org).

Daland R. Juberg, Ph.D., of the International Center for Toxicology and Medicine is the lead author. Kimberly M. Thompson, Sc.D., Assistant Professor of Risk Analysis and Decision Science at the Harvard School of Public Health, performed the statistical analyses for the study as part of the Kids Risk Project. 

The study asked parents to observe and record their children's mouthing behavior over five non-consecutive days. Approximately 300 children showed a wide range of mouthing behaviors, from essentially none at all to a relatively large amount. 

"These data and study results should benefit the regulatory community, particularly those charged with evaluating safety from consumer products that may be mouthed by young children," Juberg said. "Concerned parents should be reassured by these results, which show that children tend to mouth objects less than previously thought overall." 

While more infants die from choking on foods than non-food objects each year, Dr. Thompson said "parental attention can make the difference between a child's safe exploration of his or her environment and a trip to the emergency room." 

The technical analysis and preparation of the manuscript was funded by the American Toy Institute under a contract to the International Center for Toxicology and Medicine.

More on Dr. Thompson's Kids Risk Project and a direct link to the study can be found at www.kidsrisk.harvard.edu.

For further information, please contact:

Kimberly Thomspon
Harvard Center for Risk Analysis
Phone: 617 432-4285