CPSC Under Fire for Settling with Stroller Manufacturer Instead of Forcing Recall
New research shows that more than 17,000 young children end up in emergency rooms each year as a result of head injuries caused by strollers and infant carriers. According to a report in Forbes, brain injuries made up 79 percent of carrier-related injuries and 65 percent of the stroller-related injuries that led to hospitalization. Over the period of the study, which was conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, the rate of concussions and brain injuries doubled for stroller-related injuries and tripled for those associated with carriers.
Types of Injuries Sustained
The study shows that among nearly 262,000 stroller injuries, 42 percent occurred in children under 1. About 43 percent were head injuries and 31 percent were facial injuries. Two in five of these involved soft-tissue injuries, but 25 percent were concussions or traumatic brain injuries most simply from the child’s head hitting the ground. Carriers, which include hand carriers and those that are strapped on to the parent’s body, had an even higher rate of concussions and traumatic brain injuries (35 percent).
While carrier injuries had a hospitalization rate of 6.5 percent, the hospitalization rate for stroller injuries was 2.4 percent. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued 43 recalls related to strollers and 13 recalls related to infant carriers during the study period. Reasons for these defective product recalls ranged from risk of falls to entrapment, strangulation, choking, amputations and cuts.
Protecting Your Child
Traumatic brain injuries and concussions in young children could have long-term consequences on cognitive development. Recent studies have also shown that concussions, which were previously believed to be “mild” brain injuries, also have long-term effects on the brain. There are several steps parents can take to protect against these types of injuries:
• Make sure your child is properly seated in the stroller and buckled in at all times.
• Choose the right stroller or carrier for your baby’s size. Read all instructions to ensure that it is assembled properly.
• Keep stroller handles clear. Don’t add heavy bags or items to the stroller that could cause it to tip over.
• A stroller should be locked into position so it doesn’t accidentally close. Lock the brake when parked to prevent unexpected movement.
• Keep carriers low to the ground so the child has a shorter fall if the carrier tips over. Never place a carrier on an elevated surface.
• Check for recalls. Visit recalls.gov to see if your stroller or carrier has been recalled.
If your child has been injured by a defective product, please contact an experienced product defect lawyer to obtain more information about your legal rights and options.