When it comes to the topic of dangerous or defective children's products, most people naturally think of toys, cribs or even clothes. However, a recently published report by researchers at the renowned Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital suggests that people might want to add high chairs to this mental checklist.
After examining comprehensive data from the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System on chair-related injuries from 2003 to 2010 involving children age 3 and under, the researchers made an altogether shocking discovery: the number of high chair accidents jumped by 22 percent from 8,926 in 2003 to 10,930 in 2010.
The report, published in the latest edition of Clinical Pediatrics, also determined that almost six out of every ten kids suffered some sort of neck or head injury in high chair accidents, and almost three out of every ten suffered some type of facial injury.
The study authors determined that the reason for this high percentage of injuries to the head, neck and face can likely be attributed to the fact that child in the age range of three and under typically have their center of gravity located up near their chest as opposed to their waist like adults. Consequently, when they fall, they will topple headlong. Furthermore, the researchers posited that high chairs are typically placed on hard surfaces like wood or tile floors.
What then can parents do to prevent high chair accidents?
The researchers advise the following:
- Always keep the child buckled in and under constant supervision
- Do not use the tray as a restraint
- Lock the wheels in place
- Make sure the high chair is stable, and located away from walls or counters
- Read the instruction manual
It is worth noting that the researchers also pointed out that it's not just a lack of supervision that's causing these high chair accidents, but also product defects.
"In recent years, there have been millions of high chairs recalled because they do not meet current safety standards," said one official. "Most of these chairs are reasonably safe when restraint instructions are followed, but even so, there were 3.5 million high chairs recalled during our study period alone."
Fortunately, the researchers pointed out that the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which mandates independent third party testing of all children's products before they are offered for sale, should help cut down on the number of high chair accidents moving forward.
It's important to remember that you can seek justice if a dangerous or defective children's product has caused your family immeasurable harm. Consider speaking with an experienced attorney to learn more about your rights and your options.
Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Rise in U.S. high chair injuries stuns experts," Alan Mozes, Dec. 9, 2013