Most parents spend time and money trying to pick out just the right stroller, reading reviews or asking for recommendations from friends and family members. The hope is that by spending energy hunting down the best stroller, you increase the likelihood your child is safe and sound when out for a walk.
While strollers are generally safe when used properly, a point that should be underlined given the alarming new research, experts say that strollers may be more dangerous than some parents might think. Strollers can actually cause serious harm in some cases, especially when parents don’t know how to use the strollers properly.
A recent study was published in the journal “Academic Pediatrics”, which reached the troubling conclusion that 361,000 children under 5 have been treated in emergency rooms across the U.S. between 1990 and 2010, all with stroller-related injuries. This breaks down to a shocking rate of two children every hour, or nearly 50 young kids per day.
The vast majority of the injuries suffered by these children occurred when a child fell from a stroller or when a stroller tipped over. The most common injuries were relatively minor, including bruises and bumps to the face and head. More worrying was the finding that 25% of all stroller injuries resulted in some form of traumatic brain injury, including concussions. Interestingly, the researchers say that percentage of stroller-related brain injuries doubled over the course of the study, jumping from under 20% to more than 40 percent.
Though parents might be worried that strollers are becoming more dangerous, the experts believe that doctors have just gotten much better at diagnosing head injuries. As the medical community has realized how dangerous these head traumas can be, resulting in some cases in long-term consequences on brain development, they are better able to spot traumatic brain injury when it occurs.
Though some stroller-related injuries are just accidents, others could have something to do with a defective design or fault product, and parents should be on alert for news of recalls. Assuming your particular brand of stroller hasn’t been recalled, what can parents do to decrease the likelihood of an accident? First, experts say that parents should be sure to get a stroller that properly fits their child. Also, never hang heavy items on a stroller’s handles, as this can cause the stroller to tip over. Make sure that the wheels are locked when the stroller is parked and always buckle your child in, something that can keep the kid inside in the event the stroller does tip.