Head injuries sustained in falls from high chairs jumped 90 percent from 2003 to 2010. A new study shows upwards of 9,400 children are injured falling off high chairs every year in the United States. And even high chair models with the highest of safety records can pose risks if not used properly, say personal injury attorneys with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell.
Researchers with the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio looked at children three years old and younger who were treated for high chair-related injuries in US emergency rooms from 2003 to 2010. Results showed that the annual rate of such injuries increased by 22 percent over the study period. Not surprisingly, head injuries were the most common type suffered, followed by bruises and cuts. But the most alarming finding is that while the rate of total injuries across the board jumped just 22 percent, the rate of head injuries increased nearly 90 percent.
The leading cause of falls from high chairs: children climbing or standing on the chair. Such a case suggests that the high chair’s safety restraint system was either not being used, was being used improperly or was faulty. In situations that involved high chair restraints known or suspected to be faulty, manufacturers often issued recalls. But a recall is only effective if product owners respond. “We know that over the recent years, millions of chairs have been recalled in the US because of not meeting safety standards, said Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy and one of the study researchers.”But usually, a very low percentage of recalled products are actually returned.”
In fact, a 2009 study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission showed just 30 percent of Americans returned recalled products. Other studies place that statistic as low as 12 percent. However, another possible reason for the increase in reported cases is that parents are taking head injuries more seriously than in the past, perhaps due to increased awareness via media coverage. In any case, physicians and personal injury attorneys urge parents and guardians to closely review usage instructions before placing your child in a high chair, and to follow those instructions every time the chair is in use. Also, check the manufacturer’s website periodically to a make sure your high chair hasn’t been recalled.
If your child suffers a high chair-related injury, take him or her to an emergency room or physician’s office immediately, even if you believe the injury to be a minor one. Soft tissue injuries from falls often won’t be immediately recognizable. Then, contact an experienced personal injury attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell at 800-251-1111.