Despite years of public and regulatory pressure, manufacturers continue to dump risky nursery products into the market, sending tens of thousands of children each year to emergency rooms for treatment. These injuries also increased markedly during the last years of a newly published study.
In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital said they scrutinized records on more than a million injuries of youngsters in emergency care for more than two decades (from 1991 to 2011), finding that 66,000 youngsters each year require treatment—almost an incident every eight minutes—due to issues with baby walkers, bouncers and changing tables.
Baby carriers, cribs and mattresses, and strollers caused the preponderance of injuries requiring ER attention, with 81 percent of the injuries affecting youngsters’ head, face, or neck. Most of the injuries were not major and were caused by toddlers falling from nursery products, which the researchers wrote are all too common:
Nearly every household in the United States with a newborn or young child uses nursery products, which include infant furniture, barriers, walkers, devices, and equipment used for transporting, bathing, or caring for a child. These products are intended to help parents raise their children. However, nursery products can pose a threat to the well-being of young children, especially if the products do not meet current safety standards.
The experts told USA Today that manufacturers, not parents, need to rectify woes with these children-targeted products, with researcher Tracy Mehan quoted as saying, “If the products had a different design that made them easier to use, there would be less injury.”
Regulators have made some headway with improving stroller safety, though I’ve written that greater vigilance is needed still with these products and baby carriers.
Parents, USA Today noted, can better safeguard their youngsters if they will research, “check for recalls, register the product and read the manuals (from front to back).” The newspaper notes that a federal website, www.recalls.gov can be informative and parents can also sign up there for email alerts. (The site, for example, recently announced the recall of the stroller shown above.)
Researcher Mehan cautioned parents who try to save money by buying used kid stuff: That’s’ because cribs made before June, 2011, may not meet the latest safety standards. Similarly, used car seats for toddlers may have been in heavy use or involved in wrecks that weaken them and make them less safe.
In my practice, I see the terrible harms that youngsters and others can suffer due to dangerous or defective products. It’s sad that in 2017 we still need to keep our guard up against problematic goods that we’ll use as we raise our kids.