Whether to save money, to save the environment or to simply adopt the latest trend, a common “must-have” accessory for many people these days is a re-usable water bottle. It would seem like a simple product that couldn’t carry much risk for the user. But, at least when it comes to the increasingly popular aluminum water bottles, there is an unexpected—and somewhat odd—risk: your tongue getting stuck in the narrow opening of the bottle.
This is apparently what has happened to a handful of children using aluminum water bottles. MSN Today News reported that a young girl had to have a bottle surgically removed after she got her tongue stuck trying to get that last drop of liquid out. And she isn’t the only one that it has happened to; an 8-year–old girl and a 9-year-old boy both had similar experiences. According to the report, doctors who have treated the children hypothesize that the bottle opening creates a strong suction around the tongue, which combined with the lack of flexibility in the metal construction and the brass ridges on the opening creates the risk of the tongue getting stuck.
While this may seem like an unlikely event to happen or even a non-serious problem if it does, perhaps it’s worthwhile to think again. The removal of the bottle does require special tools and of course any operation on a child, particularly in the facial region, presents its own risks. There is also the risk of a blocked airway or permanent damage to the tongue which would result in a loss of speech.
Companies that make these types of bottles are reportedly investigating the matter and, in some cases, taking these types of bottles of the market. An alternative safety strategy is to buy a bottle that can be used with a sippy cap.
About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, whose attorneys work out of offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, Eastern Shore Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service.