One child is treated every hour for high chair-related injuries in U.S. emergency rooms.
That's according to a new study by Clinical Practices, which found 93 percent of all injuries associated with a booster seat or high chair involved a fall. In about two-thirds of those cases, the child was climbing or standing in the chair, suggesting the safety restraints either weren't being used or were not working properly.
The study looked at children three years and younger that were treated in emergency rooms between 2003 and 2010. More than 9,400 children are treated, on average, each year.
Concussions and internal head injuries are among the most common injuries, though many children also suffered bumps, bruises, and cuts.
According to Nationwide Children's, here are some tips to keeping your children safe while using high chairs:
• Always use the safety straps. Buckling the child in the seat with the straps every time he/she is in the high chair will help set a routine and keep him/her safe by keeping him/her seated and securely in the chair. Make sure the straps are in good working order and firmly attached to the chair. Only use chairs with either a 3-point or 5-point harness that includes a crotch strap or post. Remember – the tray is not enough to keep children in the seat.
• Use high chairs appropriately during meal time. Teach your child that his/her high chair is where he/she sits for eating. Allowing him/her to play, climb or stand in the chair can cause it to tip over. Also make sure that older siblings know not to climb on the chair.
• Keep the area around the high chair clear. Children are naturally curious and will grab things in their reach. Make sure tablecloths, placemats, sharp silverware, plates and hot food and liquids are out of reach. Also be aware of where you put the high chair. If it is too close to the table, a counter or the wall, the child may knock the chair over by kicking their feet into these objects.
• Make sure the chair is stable. Before selecting a high chair for your child, test it out. Chairs with wide bases are often more stable. Using high chairs that meet current safety standards is important. If the chair has wheels, make sure that they are locked into place before use.
• Stay with your child during meal time. An unsupervised child is more likely to try to escape from his/her high chair and can also be more likely to choke on his/her food.
• Check for recalls. Millions of unsafe high chairs have been recalled during recent years. Make sure the one you are using does not have any known injury hazards. Check www.recalls.gov to see if your high chair has been recalled.