What sends babies to the ER?

Researchers found that every eight minutes, a child aged three years and younger is treated in an emergency room for a nursery product-related injury.

The study looked back over 21 years of data from 1991 to 2011 in the US.

Increasing number of babies injured

During the early years of the study, there was a significant decline in injuries. This was attributed to a decrease in injuries from baby walkers.

However, in the last eight years, the number of nursery product-related injuries steadily increased, rising nearly 25 percent.

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“We have achieved great success in preventing baby walker-related injuries by improving the design of the product and instituting better safety standards,” says 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 products that hurt

Nursery products commonly related with injuries were:

  • Baby carriers (20%)
  • Cribs/mattresses (19%)
  • Strollers/carriages (17%)

Majority are head injuries

These injuries typically (88%) occurred at home, and most (80%) were due to a fall. The majority of the injuries (81%) were to the head, face or neck.

“Many of the injuries associated with nursery products are to the head or face,” says Tracy Mehan, manager of translational research at the Center for Injury Research and Policy.

“For children this young, these can be quite serious. Of particular concern was the increase in the number and rate of concussions in recent years.”

How to protect your baby

There are some things families can do to help keep their children safer while using these products.

Researchers recommend that parents and caregivers follow the four Rs – do your research, register the product, check for recalls, and read the manual.

  • Do research – Before bringing a new nursery product into the home, go online and look at information from a trusted organisation for what types of product are both useful and safe for your baby.
  • Register the product – When you bring a new product into your home, make sure to register your purchase with the manufacturer. There’s usually a postcard that comes with the product, or the packaging might direct you to complete a form on the manufacturer’s website.
  • Check for recalls –  Registering your purchase will ensure that you’re notified if the product is recalled for any fault in design or functioning.
  • Read the manual – Take a few minutes to read the manual before you use it, so you can learn how the product works, when to lock it, when to buckle, where to use it, and where not to use it. You also want to confirm that the product is the right one for your child’s age and size.

Source: Nationwide Children’s Hospital via Sciencedaily.com