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High chair mishaps

According to a recent report by Clinical Pediatrics, about one child is brought to the emergency room due to a high chair-related injury each hour. The report looked at data between 2003 and 2010 and saw 9,400 children were treated in U.S. emergency departments for injuries involving a high chair or booster seat. This number increased 22 percent over the study period. In a one year time period from October 2012 to September 2013, there were 25 reported falls from high chairs for children ages 2 and younger at Dayton Children’s Hospital alone.

While it’s difficult to know why we are seeing this trend, I’ll take a guess that it probably has something to do with frequent distractions from cell phones. This is totally my hypothesis – I would need to test it out. In any case, the trend is real.

The combination of a child falling from a higher level and falling on a hard tile or wood floor, typical of kitchens and dining rooms, can cause serious injury.  These injuries can include concussions, internal head trauma, bumps and bruises and cuts.

High chairs are a great invention and are a great step into independence for children as they learn to eat at the dinner table.  Take a few precautions to ensure your high chair is a place to eat and not a place that could cause injury.

  • Straps for safety.  Safety straps are the most important device to use to protect your child.  Chairs have three-or five-point harnesses with a crotch strap or post which are designed to keep your child in the seat. Make sure to use the straps each and every time your child is in the seat. Don’t depend on the detachable tray to keep your child in the high chair.
  • Choose a steady chair.  Products with wide bases provide better protection from tipping. If you are using a booster seat, make sure the booster is placed on a sturdy chair as well.
  • Lock it. If the high chair has wheels, ensure they are locked in position before use.
  • Recall alert. Before using a high chair, check for recalls and ensure all of the parts are working properly.  I did a quick check on the list of recalled high chairs and many have been recalled for missing or easily broken small parts.
  • Meal time only. Children should be taught that the high chair is used for eating and not a place to play.

And finally, I run into this all the time, if you are out to eat at a restaurant, make sure the high chairs or booster seats provided have straps that are in working order. If they don’t, ask for a chair or seat that does.

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.