Strollers and carriers cause average of two injuries every hour in the U.S.

The Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital published research about children getting injured from strollers and carriers in Academic Pediatrics in August 2016. Parents use these products every day to safely transport their children, but injuries do occur while using these products. The study found that, over a 21-year period from 1990 through 2010, almost 361,000 children age 5 years and younger were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments for stroller-or carrier-related injuries. That’s about two children every hour.

The study found that most children were injured when they fell from the stroller or carrier or when the stroller or carrier tipped over. The head and face were the most commonly injured parts of the body.

While many of the injuries were soft tissue injuries like bumps and bruises, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)/concussions accounted for one-quarter of stroller-related injuries and one-third of carrier-related injuries. In fact, the proportion of stroller-related TBIs/concussions doubled during the study period going from 19% of injuries in 1990 to 42% of injuries in 2010 and the proportion of carrier-related TBI/concussions tripled going from 18% of injuries in 1990 to 53% of injuries in 2010.

While most of the children were sent home after receiving treatment in the emergency department, 7% of children with a carrier-related injury and 2% with a stroller-related injury were hospitalized. This means that every day in the U.S. a child is hospitalized for a stroller or carrier-related injury. TBIs/concussions accounted for 65% of stroller-related hospitalizations and 79% of carrier-related hospitalizations. This is important because traumatic brain injuries and concussions in young children may have long term consequences on cognitive development.

Parents place their most precious cargo in strollers and carriers every day. By taking a few simple steps like making sure your child is buckled up every time he is in his stroller or carrier and being aware of things that can cause these products to tip over can help prevent many of these injuries.

Parents and child caregivers can help children stay safer by following these tips:

  • Always buckle up. Follow all manufacturer’s instructions for properly securing children in strollers or carriers. Make sure your child is seated and buckled in at all times.
  • Keep handles clear. Hanging heavy items like purses and bags on the handle of strollers can cause them to tip over. Store these items under the stroller or on your shoulder. If getting a new stroller, look for one with a wide wheel base that will be harder to tip over.
  • Get a model that fits your child. Strollers and carriers are not one-size fits all. Both strollers and carriers have age and weight limits. Make sure to get one that is the right size for your child and follow all manufacturer’s guidelines for use.
  • Lock it. Lock stroller wheels when you “park” to prevent it from rolling away unexpectedly. Be careful using a stroller near a curb and in high traffic areas where sidewalks are not available.
  • Keep it low. Keep carriers low to the ground so the child has a shorter fall if the carrier tips over.
  • Check for recalls. Both strollers and carriers have had recalls in recent years. Check www.recalls.gov to see if the model you plan to use has been recalled.

Kristin Roberts
Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA

 

Publication

Injuries Associated With Strollers and Carriers Among Children in the United States, 1990 to 2010.
Fowler E, Kobe C, Roberts KJ, Collins CL, McKenzie LB
Acad Pediatr. 2016 Nov – Dec

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