Stroller, Infant Carrier Falls & Tip Overs Send Two Children To The Hospital Every Hour

Image courtesy of Marike79

Strollers, carriers, and baby wraps are a necessity for parents looking to transport their kids from one point to another. Yet data in a new study shows just how many children are injured each year in incidents involving one of these devices.

The study, published this week in the journal American Pediatrics by researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, found that between 1990 and 2010, a total of 360,937 children (ages 5 and under) were hospitalized after being injured in strollers and carriers.

According to the report, falls and tip-overs accounted for the most injuries. More than two-thirds (67%) of stroller incidents and 63% of carrier incidents involved falls. Tipping over was the second most common cause of injuries, accounting for about 29% of carrier injuries and 16% of stroller injuries.

“While these products are used safely by families every day, when injuries do occur they can be quite serious,” Kristi Roberts, research associate in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and author of the study, said in a statement.

The most common type of injury sustained was from either falling or tipping over of carriers and strollers related to the child’s head or face.

This “is scary considering the fact that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and concussions in young children may have long term consequences on cognitive development,” Roberts said.

Though many of the injuries were soft tissue injuries like bumps and bruises, TBIs and concussions accounted for 25% of stroller-related injuries and 35% of carrier-related injuries.

During the course of the study, the frequency of stroller-related TBIs and concussions doubled from 19% in 1990 to 42% in 2010.

At the same time, the number of carrier-related TBIs and concussions tripled from 18% in 1990 to 53% in 2010.

In all, 7% of children with a carrier-related injury and 2% with a stroller-related injury were hospitalized after the incident, the study found. Of those hospitalizations, TBIs and concussions accounted of 65% of stroller-related and 79% of those that were carrier-related.

“As parents, we place our most precious cargo in strollers and carriers every day,” said Roberts. “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.”

The Institute included a slew of safety recommendations that parents should consider in order to keep their children safe:

• Always buckle up: Follow manufacturer’s instructions for properly securing children in strollers or carriers.

• Keep handles clear: Placing heavy items over a stroller or carrier handle can make the device top-heavy or unstable. Store these items under the stroller or on your shoulder.

• Make sure it fits your child: Kids grow quickly, always make sure the stroller or carrier you are using is made to carry the weight of your child.

• Lock the wheels: To ensure your stroller doesn’t roll away lock the wheels in the “Park” position. Additionally, to avoid tip overs, make sure that carriers are secure if they interlock with a stroller.

Our colleagues at Consumer Reports also offer a range of tips and recommendations for stroller safety, including familiarizing yourself with the devices features, and completing frequent safety checks.

While the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital report does not identify the types of strollers or carriers involved in the study, Consumer Reports complied a stroller guide for those in the market.