Contributor: David Shafran, MD
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You’d think a high chair would be safe for your child. But from what I’ve seen in my practice, and from the findings recent research, there’s an alarming increase in the number of high chair and booster seat injuries.
One study found a 22 percent increase in high chair-related incidents in children ages 3 and under. This may reveal safety issues with the chairs themselves. Or it may reflect that parents either are not using the restraints, or they are not using them effectively.
Most of the accidents are falls that happen when the child stands in the chair. The falls result predominantly in head, neck and facial injuries, including bruises, cuts or concussions.
7 safety tips for high chairs
The best way to keep your child safe is to use the three- or five-point harness system that comes with the chair. Also, be sure to follow these safety tips:
- Make sure that the crotch strap is well secured so that your child sits snugly and is not wriggling around in the chair.
- Establish a routine of using the high chair only for meals. Do not let it be used for playtime.
- Use the restraint system that comes with the chair. The lap table is not an effective restraint.
- Don’t leave your child unattended in the high chair.
- Don’t allow your child to stand or climb in the chair.
- Make sure the high chair is far enough away from counter tops and tables so kids can’t use their legs to push the chair over.
- Before and after buying a high chair or toys, periodically check for recalls.
Also, there are numerous emergency room visits for falls from regular chairs. As with high chairs, don’t let your children stand or play on chairs or use them as ladders to reach high things.
Furniture safety for small children
Standing or climbing on furniture is unsafe. Chairs and tables can tip or topple over, and kids can fall onto hard surfaces and objects, or heavy object, like TVs, can fall onto them.
It’s important to be diligent in watching small children when they play and to teach them from an early age about the boundaries of what is safe. This helps the behaviors to become ingrained as they get older.