A new study from the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital reports that the number of children under the age of 3 who were treated in emergency departments for high chair related injuries between 2003 and 2010 increased by 22 percent. While most parents are worried about car seats and cribs, could they be overlooking high chair as a safety risk?“Many parents may not realize the dangers that are associated with high chairs,” says Rosemary Casey, MD, pediatrician at Lankenau Medical Center. “If you think about the area these high chairs are usually placed—dining rooms, kitchens—a fall from one of them can present a real risk of injury for a child.”Although a fall in any area can be dangerous for a young child, a hard surface like tile or wood in dining areas can make it even more serious. Most children who visited the emergency room as a result of falling out of a high chair were treated for concussions or internal head injuries, while others presented with bumps, bruises, and cuts. On average, one child each hour was treated for a high chair-related injury.
To protect your child from a fall, Dr. Casey says the most important thing you can do is make sure that you’re putting the equipment together and using it correctly.
“When you’re buying a high chair, or if you’re going to be re-using one that’s a few years old, check with consumer websites to make sure that it hasn’t been recalled or there are no safety issues,” she says. “Ensuring that it’s a safe piece of equipment and that it’s put together correctly can help prevent injuries.”
In addition, make sure your child is seated and strapped in using the high chair’s safety restraint. Many parents are multi-tasking and place their child into a high chair without strapping them in. Even when you’re in a hurry, make sure to buckle them in and try not to leave your child unattended for too long.
If your child does fall from a high chair or booster seat, call your pediatrician or head to the emergency room immediately.