6 Ways Babies Can Be Dangerous


Biologically, we’re wired to adore babies. They smell terrific, their gummy smiles are delightful, and they’re a lot of fun to shop for. But not all infants subscribe to a peaceful philosophy. Some tiny terrors can wind up lashing out physically, causing harm to their adult handlers. Here are six proven ways poop-panted antagonists can inflict damage.


You wouldn’t think a baby’s tiny fingers could possibly pose any danger—but that foolish assumption could put your eyesight at risk. Babies tend to have a fascination with glasses, reaching for corrective lenses out of curiosity; other times, their arms can spasmodically shoot out into the nearest soft tissue. Parental reflexes are often too slow to avoid a direct hit to the eye, causing corneal abrasions and even subconjunctival hemorrhages. One mother, Kara Kastan, told The New York Times in 2012 that she was jabbed in the eye by her son twice. She had to wear an eyepatch. The baby did not care.


Though slight of frame, babies wield an incredibly powerful cranium, their solid skulls able to crash into unsuspecting noses or teeth with substantial force. Penny Blatt, wife of New York Times columnist David Wallis, had her nose broken in two places by their son. Pediatricians believe head butts can be a sign of frustration when infants are unable to verbalize their feelings.


What could be more seductive to a baby than a shiny, dangling earring just inches from its grasp? New York City plastic surgeon Norman Day claims he's seen several patients whose earlobes have been ripped in half after an infant has clamped down on jewelry and tugged. Other surgeons report similar cases, particularly when the mother is wearing hoop earrings.


A baby should always be handled as though you were holding a live lobster: babies can exert significant pinching power that’s often directed at the neck of their guardian. A baby that grabs a flap of skin and tugs can create a sunburn-like irritation. Experts say babies are just being curious and want to see how you react to the assault. If you exaggerate and jump back, it might amuse—and encourage—the roughhousing. Instead, gently release their grip from your Adam’s apple and tell them it hurts.


UK mother Joanne Mackie made news in 2009 when it was reported that she had an allergic reaction to her own son, James, breaking out in blisters upon contact. It was the result of a rare autoimmune disease, oemphigoid gestationis, that Mackie developed while carrying James. After a course of steroids, the reaction—which only affects one in 50,000 women—subsided.


As a baby begins to flirt with toddlerhood at the age of two, their growing ability to grasp objects can sometimes result in toys going airborne. Sarah Rosengarten was watching her son, Carter, play with Matchbox cars when he decided to test his pitching skills: the car crashed into Sarah’s jaw, resulting in a hairline fracture.

For once, a baby’s casual disregard for the safety of others had a benefit: Sarah’s CT scan detected a tumor that led to a diagnosis of kidney failure. She successfully received a transplant.

All images courtesy of iStock.

'Lime Disease' Could Give You a Nasty Rash This Summer

A cold Corona or virgin margarita is best enjoyed by the pool, but watch where you’re squeezing those limes. As Slate illustrates in a new video, there’s a lesser-known “lime disease,” and it can give you a nasty skin rash if you’re not careful.

When lime juice comes into contact with your skin and is then exposed to UV rays, it can cause a chemical reaction that results in phytophotodermatitis. It looks a little like a poison ivy reaction or sun poisoning, and some of the symptoms include redness, blistering, and inflammation. It’s the same reaction caused by a corrosive sap on the giant hogweed, an invasive weed that’s spreading throughout the U.S.

"Lime disease" may sound random, but it’s a lot more common than you might think. Dermatologist Barry D. Goldman tells Slate he sees cases of the skin condition almost daily in the summer. Some people have even reported receiving second-degree burns as a result of the citric acid from lime juice. According to the Mayo Clinic, the chemical that causes phytophotodermatitis can also be found in wild parsnip, wild dill, wild parsley, buttercups, and other citrus fruits.

To play it safe, keep your limes confined to the great indoors or wash your hands with soap after handling the fruit. You can learn more about phytophotodermatitis by checking out Slate’s video below.

[h/t Slate]

Lia Is a Disposable Pregnancy Test You Can Flush Down the Toilet

It’s a common Hollywood plot point: A character spots a discarded pregnancy test in a bathroom trash can. Surprise! Someone’s pregnancy is revealed, though they weren’t yet ready to tell anyone (and perhaps never planned on telling them at all). Lia is a new type of disposable pregnancy test designed to be flushed down the toilet to make sure no one ever experiences that kind of privacy violation, according to Glamour.

Lia hasn’t hit the market yet, but when it does, it will be the first major redesign of the home pregnancy test in decades. The first at-home pregnancy test in the U.S. debuted in 1977, and while it took two hours to show a result, it gave women the option to learn their pregnancy status with relative accuracy (it was 97 percent accurate for positive results, but only 80 percent accurate for negative results) for the first time without going to the doctor. In 1988, Unilever came out with the first wand-style pregnancy test—the plastic kind you pee on to reveal the blue stripe indicators. Since then, not much has changed about the basic design of the at-home pregnancy test except the graphics that companies use to convey the test’s results. (The science undergirding the tests has advanced over the years, though.)

Unlike the plastic sticks, Lia is disposable and can be flushed down the toilet or composted. With the shape reminiscent of a sanitary pad, it works similar to the traditional pee-stick test: You urinate on it, then wait for the stripes to appear. While it’s water-resistant enough to withstand the two minutes of pee-soaking required to get a result, the test strip is made of the type of plant fibers that go into toilet paper and will eventually disintegrate in water. It can also be composted: In one experiment, it took 10 weeks to completely degrade in soil.

A diagram of Lia's features

Like other pregnancy tests available at the drug store, Lia’s results are based on the concentration of human chorionic gonadotropin (a pregnancy hormone) in your pee. It’s FDA approved, and the company reports that it’s more than 99 percent accurate, comparable to other tests on the market.

No matter what the circumstances surrounding a pregnancy are, most people don’t want to share the fact that they could be pregnant with everyone they might share a bathroom with—most people wait several months into their pregnancy to announce the news—and even if they want to tell the world immediately, they probably don’t want to do so via trash can. Lia’s paper design makes it easy to dispose of the test without worrying about who might stumble upon your wastebasket. It’s also more sustainable and won’t clog up landfills like plastic tests. While people don’t use as many pregnancy tests as, say, plastic straws, the over-the-counter plastic pregnancy test market is still a huge one, and a contributor to environmental pollution. As a bonus, the lack of plastic makes Lia cheaper to produce, too.

Lia will eventually be available in stores and online. It’s scheduled to be released sometime in 2018.

[h/t Glamour]


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