Despite the 1970’s redesigned tab, a move made to help prevent swallowing the object, soda can tabs are still finding their way into children’s and teen’s stomachs. During a 16 year study at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center 19 children had swallowed the safety tabs, which are designed to fold back but stay attached to cans for soda and other beverages.
The study, which included children between the ages of 1 and 18, found that the tabs are still quite easily removed from the can and are sometimes chewed on deliberately or accidentally swallowed when the tab breaks off into the fluid and is accidentally drunk. When these tabs enter the digestive system there’s a high chance of the bowels or stomach getting cut up by the jagged edges on the tab. What’s more the researchers feel that the number they got in that time was likely lower than what was actually true due to a lack of reported incidents in that span.
Such incidents are harder to resolve because aluminum doesn’t show up as well on x-ray scans as other metals like coins which are commonly swallowed by children. Parents should be careful and monitor their child’s use of beverage containers and may help prevent the problem by pouring the beverage into a glass instead. They also ask that beverage companies consider redesigning the tab to make it harder to remove.