Baby strollers and baby carriers make traveling with a child convenient for parents, grandparents, nannies and babysitters alike. There is cause for concern, however, as new information from a twenty-year study shows that head trauma and brain injuries in children are on the rise with accidents involving baby strollers and baby carriers.
The Academic Pediatrics Association recently published a study stating that over 17,000 children under the age of five go the emergency room every year with an injury resulting from an accident in a baby stroller or carrier. That averages to around 50 children a day. Even more alarming is that when the study began in 1990, less than 20% of the stroller and carrier injuries treated in hospitals included a diagnosis of a traumatic brain injury or concussion. By the study’s end in 2010, those numbers jumped to 42% of injuries from stroller accidents and 53% of injuries from carrier accidents resulting in a brain injury or concussion. The majority of these injuries affected babies under 12 months, and occurred by the child either falling out or tipping over and hitting the ground. Doctors are concerned since these types of injuries in small children can lead to more serious and longer lasting effects during a child’s development.
The increase in brain injuries and concussions can be attributed to a number of factors. In the past 25 years, doctors have increased their awareness of brain injuries, and err on the side of caution to avoid a misdiagnosis. Also, in the 20 years the study was conducted, there were 43 recalls for strollers and 13 recalls by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for carriers due to a risk of injury. Thankfully, new federal standards went into effect in 2015 to address the recurring injuries and potential dangers involved with these products.
Even with a better awareness of head injuries and possible product defects, parents and other caregivers, including daycare workers and anyone else responsible for the supervision of a young child, must have their own checklist when it comes to children in strollers or carriers.
- Make sure the child is buckled in at all times, and is buckled in correctly. Check the manual for detailed instructions.
- Be sure to use a stroller or carrier that is appropriate for the baby’s age, height and weight.
- Pay attention when walking with a child in a stroller or carrier. Do not rush or get distracted by using your phone.
- Do not place items such as handbags, diaper bags or grocery bags on the stroller handles, as this could lead to a dangerous tip-over.
- Do not allow a child to climb up into a stroller or carrier, which can also increase the chance of it tipping over.
- Check for any recalls to make sure you are using the safest product for your child.
The study’s co-author, research associate Kristin J. Roberts from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, cautions that while the number of injuries referenced in the study is high, the actually number of injuries is actually higher. The study only counted children treated at hospitals and not those who may have been seen at urgent care facilities or pediatricians’ offices. With that in mind it is important to focus on safety when using baby strollers and carriers. If your child has been injured due to a defective product or has suffered an injury that was misdiagnosed, please call the attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C., to help recover the compensation you deserve.