A new study by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, finds that accidents linked to high chairs and table booster seats occur every hour and are on the rise in the U.S.
The study authors looked at U.S. emergency room data on kids 3 and younger from 2003 through 2010 and found that, on average, more than 9,400 children were treated each year for an injury associated with a high chair or booster seat. That number translates into about one injury per hour. The researchers also found that the multiyear review showed that the numbers of annual injuries increased during the study period.
Almost all the injuries linked to high chairs or table booster seats were the result of falls from the seats, with two thirds occurring because the injured child was climbing or standing. The researchers say those injuries indicate that the restraint systems that come with most of the seats were not being used or were not effective in protecting the child.
“Families may not think about the dangers associated with the use of high chairs,” said Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy. “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.”
Concussions and internal head injuries were the most common injuries (37 percent), followed by bumps and bruises (33 percent) and cuts (19 percent).).
“The number one thing parents can do to prevent injuries related to high chairs is to use the safety restraint system in the chair,” says Smith. “Buckling your child in every time you use the high chair can help keep them safe.”
The researchers also advise checking to see if a high chair or booster seat has been recalled before buying or borrowing one, since millions of unsafe high chairs have been recalled during recent years. Parents can check for recalls at http://www.recalls.gov.
The study was published in the Clinical Pediatrics. Data for this study came from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which is run by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.