A study shows, baby injuries associated with nursery products like strollers, carriers, and cribs are on the rise. The study, published Monday, found an increase of 23.7 percent injuries to young children related to nursery products between 2003 and 2011. In all, the authors analyzed 21 years of emergency department data. The huge majority of these injuries were to the neck or face, head, and 80 percent of infants were injured because they fell almost always at home. This could include situations like a child wiggling and cause her or his carrier to fall off a countertop, or a baby careening down the stairs in his or her walker.
Jerri Rose, a physician and assistant professor of pediatric emergency medicine at Case Western Reserve University Medical School, who was not involved with the study says the number aren’t surprising. She says when kids fall, they are likely to fall headfirst. Rose says, “Babies have such large heads and so little control of their bodies, so in young children, we generally see injuries to their head and neck area.” “The head is a big target.” She is curious about the uptick in injuries, though, and contemplate that the numbers may have climbed in recent years because of an increase in concussion identification by caregivers and doctors. Another factor may be that more nursery products are on the market and that they’re rising in popularity. If more people are using baby carriers, for instance, more injuries could follow.
Tracy Mehan, the manager of translational research at the Center for Injury Research and Policy in Ohio says, of course, most interactions between the nursery products and infants are perfectly safe and go as planned. But the increase in injuries does call for changes in both how caregivers are using baby products and in the design of the products. Mehan worked with the authors on the study. For caregivers and parents, the authors suggest following the “four Rs” to keep their kids safe: research the product, check for recalls, register the product and read the manual.
For more information on using products safely, the authors also suggest the Nationwide Children’s Hospital website, HealthyChildren.org and MakeSafeHappen.com. Of course, manufacturers and regulators also have a responsibility to make nursery products safe. For example, in the 1990s some children were using baby walkers to traverse living spaces so easily and quickly that they would end up tumbling down the stairs. After it became clear that baby walkers were creating an estimated 18,500 injuries every year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted in 1994 to guide their redesign. The current models don’t move quickly.