Anyone with small children appreciates the constant battle to keep them safe. An ordinary house is suddenly transformed into a maze of hazards when you have a child. Products that are intended for children must be carefully scrutinized to determine if they are safe. A recent safety study has found that one type of product has been involved in a frightening number of injuries in recent years. Injuries involving high chairs rose 22 percent from 2003 to 2010. Many of those injuries were suffered by children who were less than one year old.
In 2010, 10,930 injuries were recorded involving high chairs and booster chairs and children under the age of 3. The most common type of injury was a fall from a child who had been standing in or climbing the chair. The authors of the study concluded that the problem was that high chair restraints were either ineffective at stopping children or they were not being used correctly by parents.
A fall from a high chair is a dangerous accident for a small child. Children generally topple out of the chairs and, based on the height of the chair, land on the ground head-first. A fall from that height onto a hardwood floor can cause traumatic brain injury or even death in an infant or toddler. Roughly 60 percent of injuries involving high chairs were to the head or neck of the victim. Nearly 30 percent suffered facial injuries as a result of the fall.
Parents need to be aware of how to use the high chairs safely. While many may regard the tray as a sufficient restraint, it cannot prevent a child from standing up or toppling over the side. The restraints should be used at all times when the child is in the chair. In addition, toddlers should not have access to the high chair when parents are not around. Children may be tempted to climb into the chairs on their own and risk a fall.
Source: HealthDay, “Rise in U.S. High Chair Injuries Stuns Experts,” by Alan Mozes, 9 December 2013