What mom doesn’t have a stroller or a child carrier? Nobody we know! But new research published in the journal Academic Pediatrics suggests we may not all be using these common items as safely as we should be. Two children are involved in accidents that cause injuries every hour in the United States, according to the study.
Between 1990 and 2010, nearly 361,000 children ages 5 or younger were treated in emergency rooms for accidents involving strollers or carriers.
Falls account for the biggest cause of these injuries; 67 percent of stroller injuries and 63 percent of carrier injuries were from falling. The second largest cause of injuries involving strollers and carriers was tipping over. About 16 percent of stroller injuries and nearly 29 percent of carrier injuries were from tipping.
Study author Kristi Roberts, a researcher at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, said in a statement that that majority of injuries observed in the study were head injuries. It’s “scary, considering the fact that traumatic brain injuries are concussions in young children may have long-term consequences” when it comes to cognitive development, she said.
Despite the fact that the study found many of the injuries were soft tissue injuries (such as bumps and bruises) likely to heal with little or no lasting effects, 25 percent of stroller injuries and about 33 percent of carrier injuries were considered serious injuries—including ones that resulted in traumatic brain injuries and concussions.
Although many families use strollers and carriers safely every day, Roberts noted in a statement, “When injuries do occur, they can be quite serious.” Robert recommends taking precautionary steps such as double-checking that your child is buckled up each time they’re in their stroller or carrier, and knowing what causes your stroller or carrier to tip so you can prevent the injuries from ever happening.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an ER doctor in New York City, told CBS News that parents not paying attention often contributes to stroller injuries. “Never text or use your smartphone while pushing a stroller or using an infant carrier," as even a split second of distraction can wind up resulting in a serious injury to your child. Glatter also recommended that parents avoid putting anything heavy on the handlebars of strollers or carriers to prevent tipping.
Over the 20 years that the study spanned, the researchers found some startling statistics on the rising rate of traumatic brain injuries and concussions. They said the rate doubled for strollers and tripled for carriers.
Appropriate age, weight and height should always be considered with the use of any stroller or carrier to prevent accidents caused by collapsing or tipping.