Buckle up! That’s what researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio are telling parents to do for their kids in strollers or baby carriers. A recent study shows that more than 17,000 children end up in the emergency room each year due to injuries involving strollers and infant carriers. And over a quarter of those injuries were concussions or traumatic brain injuries.
Most of the injuries occurred when a child fell out of a stroller or carrier, or when they tipped over. The researchers analyzed two decades of data from 1990-2010 of stroller and baby carrier injuries in children 5 years old and younger. They found that during that time period 361,000 children received emergency room treatment for stroller or carrier injuries. Most injuries were to the head and face with many being bumps and bruises only; however, over a quarter of the 262,000 stroller injuries and over one-third of the carrier injuries resulted in traumatic brain injuries or concussions.
Traumatic brain injuries may cause long-term injuries to a child’s cognitive development. To help parents prevent these injuries from happening when using strollers or carriers, researchers recommend the following safety precautions:
- Buckle up. Your child should be seated and buckled at all times.
- Never hang heavy items from the stroller’s handles –this can cause strollers to tip over.
- Never allow children to climb on the stroller.
- Make sure the stroller is in the locked position so it doesn’t close accidentally.
- Lock the stroller wheels when stopped.
- Make sure that your stroller or carrier fits your child– a child’s weight should not exceed the maximum limit.
- Keep baby carriers low to the ground so your child has a shorter fall if the carrier tips over.
- Check for recalls.