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Study: Every Hour, a Child Is Injured in a High Chair

High chair injuries on the rise
Photograph by Getty Images/Fuse

You may think of your kid's high chair as just another harmless piece of baby gear cluttering your home. It's where your kid prattles on at mealtime, squeezing her peas and carrots in her fists instead of eating them, and tossing her spoon overboard.

But according to a new report, high chairs are also sadly involved in some 9,400 child injuries a year—which translates to one injury per hour. And that number is on the rise.

The report, released by Clinical Pediatrics on Monday, found that most kids brought to the hospital following a high chair fall suffer some kind of head injury, along with cuts, bruises and bumps.

“Maybe even more concerning," said the study's lead author, Gary Smith, "[is that] the rate of head injuries has increased by almost 90 percent between 2003 and 2010, and I think it begs the question, 'What’s going on?'” Smith is also the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

So just why are more kids falling out of high chairs? Researchers can't be sure. But they have more than a few guesses. For one, it could have something to do with a failure to fasten safety straps. After all, many of the cases noted in the report showed that parents often didn't use safety features appropriately.

Another factor: In the last decade, millions of high chairs have been recalled. But as the evidence suggests, many parents are not actually paying attention to important safety recalls, and are even passing faulty high chairs on to friends and family. As Smith told the New York Daily News, there are a surprising few who actually return recalled items to a company—just between 10 and 20 percent.

But at least one hypothesis isn't placing the blame squarely on parents. Researchers also think that a heightened awareness of concussions and their side effects are merely driving parents to rush their kids to the hospital sooner, rather than waiting things out.

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