December 9, 2013 12:01 pm
Updated: December 9, 2013 12:19 pm

9,400 babies injured in high chairs every year, study warns

Baby sitting in his highchair with his mother feeding him

The Canadian Press

TORONTO – They’re often recalled and redesigned and now a new report is warning that 9,400 kids are injured in high chairs each year.

These booster seats are meant to help parents during feeding time, but the Nationwide Children’s Hospital study suggests that every hour, a child is taken to hospital. Injuries from these seats have increased by 22 per cent.

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“Families may not think about the dangers associated with the use of high chairs,” Dr. Gary Smith, director for the hospital’s Center for Injury Research and Policy said.

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“High chairs are typically used in kitchens and dining areas, so when a child falls from the elevated height of the high chair, he is often falling head first onto a hard surface such as tile or wood flooring with considerable force. This can lead to serious injuries,” Smith said.

The study was based on emergency room data from 2003 to 2010 for kids three years old and younger. It says that it’s the largest and longest study of its kind.

Almost all of the time (93 per cent), kids fell out of their seats. They were usually climbing or standing in the chair – the researchers say that this means they weren’t using safety straps to secure them in.

If parents aren’t worried about a fall from the high chair, these findings might catch their attention: concussions and internal head injuries were the most common diagnosis, followed by bumps and bruises and cuts. The head, neck and face were the most common areas that were injured.

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Smith warns that parents assume the high chair’s tray keeps kids from jumping or falling out, but that isn’t the case. The study, published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, offers these tips:

  • Always use safety straps to buckle your child in the seat. Make sure the traps are in good working order and firmly attached to the chair
  • Use high chairs appropriately during meal time. Teach your infant that the chair is where he or she sits for eating, not playing, climbing or standing
  • Keep the area around the high chair clear so that kids aren’t grabbing things in their reach. Make sure tablecloths, placemats, sharp silverware, plates, hot foods and liquids are kept out of reach
  • Make sure the chair is on stable ground
  • Always keep an eye on chair recalls – millions of unsafe high chairs have been recalled in recent years

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The study even compared high chairs to traditional chairs – in that case, more than 40,000 injuries were linked to traditional chairs. This time, injuries even included broken bones, cuts and bruises.

Health Canada did not yet respond to a request for comment on the study and for information on the number of recalls and injuries linked to high chairs in Canada. The federal agency’s recall notices can be found here.

© 2013 Shaw Media

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