A recent study shows that injuries caused by defective nursery products have significantly increased nationwide. According to a news report in USA Today, more than 66,000 children under the age of 3 go to the emergency room annually for accidents involving nursery products. This means that every eight minutes, a child is injured due to nursery products.
The Nationwide Children’s Hospital study published in the Pediatrics journal examined emergency room visits over a 21-year period (January 1991 through December 2011). The study showed that nursery product-related injuries increased nearly 25 percent within the last eight years of the study. In 80 percent of the injury cases, the child fell out of the product. The study included products ranging from baby walkers and bouncers to strollers and changing tables.
The Study’s Findings
Researchers found that the most common injuries occurred with baby carriers (20 percent), cribs/mattresses (19 percent) and strollers (17 percent). About 81 percent of the injuries were to the child’s head, face or neck. The purpose of the study, researchers said, was not to blame parents, but the manufacturers of these products. Tracy Mehan, researcher at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, told USA Today that had the manufacturers of these products designed them in a way that was easier to use, these injuries could have been prevented.
In 2001, the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital outlined the design flaws of baby walkers. This got a response from manufacturers as they changed the design of the walkers, widening them and changing the wheels so it became more difficult for children to roll down the stairs. They are hoping this study inspired a similar change.
What Can Parents Do?
Any type of change within an industry is likely to take time. In the meantime, what can we do as parents, grandparents and caregivers to keep our little ones safe? Here are few tips:
- Recalls: Check for recalls. Visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website at cpsc.gov to check if the product you wish to buy has been recall.
- Used products: Be wary especially of hand-me-down nursery products or if you plan to buy these products used. For example, it is dangerous to use a crib made before June 2011 because of new safety standards. Also avoid used car seats because prior accidents can weaken these products putting your child in a vulnerable position in the event of a car crash.
- Registration: Be sure to register your product, which helps ensure that you get a recall notice when there is a safety recall. If you don’t register, you may never know when there is a problem with your product.
- Knowledge: Read the product manual thoroughly so you know the right way to assemble, install and use the product.