Report: Injuries From Products Designed to Keep Children Safe on the Rise

When parents purchase nursery-related products for their small children, many assume that they are safe to use. But new research from the Center for Injury Research and Policy paints a very different picture. The study looked at hospital and emergency room visits of children three years old and younger over a 21-year period (through December 2011) and found that about 66,000 children each year were injured from a nursery-related product. That's about one child every eight minutes.

During the early years of the study, there was a decrease in injuries to young children as a result of changes made to baby walkers. Since there have been significant safety upgrades to that product, the injuries associated with it have dropped. Of great concern is that, according to nationwidechildrens.org, there has recently been an increase in nursery-related product injuries:

In the last 8 years of the study, however, the number of nursery product-related injuries steadily increased, rising nearly 25 percent (23.7%).

“We have achieved great success in preventing baby walker-related injuries by improving the design of the product and instituting better safety standards” said  Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, the senior author of the study and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “We now need to aggressively apply this approach to other nursery products. It is unacceptable that we are still seeing so many injuries to young children from these products.”

The nursery product-related injuries seen in the study were most commonly associated with baby carriers (20%), cribs/mattresses (19%), and strollers/carriages (17%). These injuries typically (88%) occurred at home, and most (80%) were due to a fall. The majority of the injuries were to the head, face or neck (81%).

Most injuries occurred to the children's head, face or neck, and so were not insignificant. Luckily, there are steps that parents can take to help prevent injuries of these kinds from occurring. Just remember the 4 Rs: Do your Research, check for Recalls, Register your product, and Read the manual.

As companies discover safety issues that may arise, they are able to communicate necessary steps to be taken to parents who have registered their products. And if you become aware of a recall, don't hesitate to take immediate action. According to Dr. Gary Smith, up to 80% of products that have been recalled remain in the houses of people who have purchased them. Neglecting to turn in a faulty product can result in injury.