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High Chairs Pose Increasing Danger for Babies [AUDIO]

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare, a study published Monday from the Journal of Clinical Pediatrics found the number of highchair injuries increased 22 percent from 2003 to 2010.

Flickr User Joe Shlabotnik

The study found that about 9,400 children were treated in emergency rooms annually, many with head injuries from the falls.

“These kids, because they’re young, they’re top heavy, and they tend to topple head forward when they fall and they land head first,” said Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The cause for the increase isn’t definitive, but Smith said there could be numerous many causes for the uptick; including children staying in highchairs longer, parents being more attune to the dangers of head injuries, and even potentially defective or recalled chairs.

“We certainly know there have been millions of highchair recalled in recent years and it’s possible, though we don’t have firm data, that many of these could be involved with highchairs that have defects,” he explained.

Smith notes if children are not properly restrained, highchairs can put infants at risk.

“It elevates the child above the height of a typical chair, highchairs are used in dining or kitchen areas where the floor is hard, it’s either tile or linoleum. These kids because they’re young, they’re top heavy, and they tend to topple head forward when they fall and they land head first.”

The pediatrician emphasized that making sure your child was property strapped in was the most important thing a parent could do.

“Every time, even for that one moment when you turn your back, make sure they’re restrained first,” he said. “We saw many of these kids, prior to their injuries, were standing or wiggling out of their restraints.”

He added that parents need to ensure children are not within arm’s reach of sharp objects or hot liquids, such as boiling pots or tea.

Smith also advised parents to check a government listing of recalled items to make sure their chair hasn’t been recalled.

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