Serious Injury From Carriers, Cribs and Strollers On the Rise

Study shows majority involve a child falling

Injuries from items commonly found in nurseries, such as baby carriers, cribs and strollers, happen at an alarming rate and — worse — are on the rise, a recent study says.

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The study, published online recently in the journal Pediatrics, looked at nursery product-related injuries over a 21-year period, between 1991 and 2011. The researchers found that about 66,000 children 3 years or younger are treated in a hospital emergency-department for a nursery product-related injury every year.

Injuries were most commonly associated with baby carriers, followed closely by cribs/mattresses, strollers or carriages and baby walkers/jumpers/exercisers.

Eighty percent of the injuries were caused by a child falling, and almost half of the injuries were to the head, face, or neck.

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During the early years of the study, there was a significant decline in injuries, which researchers attributed to a decrease in injuries from baby walkers. In the last eight years of the study, however, the number of nursery product-related injuries increased steadily, rising nearly 25 percent.

Other common dangers

Purva Grover, MD, a pediatric emergency physician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, says there are several other potential hazardous nursery products of which parents should be aware:

  • Crib bumpers can pose a high risk for suffocation, despite the fact that many stores still sell them, Dr. Grover says. “Even if the child is younger and they’re not scooting around yet, they may roll over for the first time in their crib. And if they roll over into a crib bumper, they can suffocate. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that happen,” Dr. Grover says.
  • Crib mobile injuries are fairly common as well, Dr. Grover says. The strings can cause lacerations or can even be a strangulation hazard if the child can stand up in the crib and reach the mobile.
  • Humidifiers often are recommended by doctors for congestion, but Dr. Grover says that cool-air versions are safer.
  • Swaddling sacks or blankets should reach no higher than the baby’s neck to avoid suffocation risk, Dr. Grover says. “The baby’s neck should not be covered up, due to strangulation or choking hazards,” she says.
  • Removable car seats can be hazardous when you leave your baby in the car seat on top of a table or chair.  “What happens is, this busy mom is rushing out the door with a little toddler strapped into a car seat, she forgets her car keys and she puts the car seat on the table or on the chair. For this one quick second, she turns away and that’s when the child can rock the carrier and fall off the table,” Dr. Grover says.

Eyes on your child, always

The most important thing to remember is that nothing replaces supervision, Dr. Grover says.

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It’s important to check all products for recalls, read all of the instructions and take the safety advice seriously, she says. Most products come with a registration or warranty that will automatically alert the purchaser to a product recall. From 2009 to 2012, nursery products were the leading category of children’s products recalled in the United States.

Also, if something like a stroller or crib breaks, it needs to be closely inspected and possibly replaced or discarded.