As a parent, you do all you can to keep your little one safe--and that
should include something as simple as putting your baby in a carrier or
taking your toddler for a walk in a stroller. That's because stroller
and carrier accidents aren't uncommon. A study in
Academic Pediatrics examined data from 1990 to 2010 and found that each year an average of
17,000 children age 5 and younger visited an emergency room due to injury
caused by a stroller or carrier--and that doesn't count problems that
are treated at home or in a pediatrician's office. Reported injuries
ranged from bumps and bruises to concussions and other types of brain injuries.
"When it comes to protecting infants and toddlers from injury, it's
important to pay attention to the little details--in this case, taking
the extra few moments to make sure the child is properly strapped into
the seat and that the stroller or carrier works properly and isn't
Wilfredo Alejo, MD, a board-certified pediatrician at
St. Jude Heritage Medical Group. "Even if you are in a rush to get somewhere or feel you're in
a safe space where your child can't get hurt, it's better to be
safe than sorry." Dr. Alejo offers parents some dos and don'ts
for stroller and carrier safety.
Buy new whenever possible. In response to reports of injuries, new federal safety standards were
put in place for strollers in September 2015. They include hinge protectors
to prevent pinched fingers or arms, proper braking systems and restraints
that aren't easily breakable or can be opened by toddlers. Older strollers
may not have some of these current features in place, or may have worn
or broken parts that would compromise safety.
Review product safety and quality records before making a purchase. If you want to check a manufacturer's track record, visit saferproducts.gov.
It allows consumers to report problems (and manufacturers can respond
to those posts). It also lists safety recalls; you can find that information
at recalls.gov, too. After purchasing a stroller or carrier, register
the product with the manufacturer to get recall news sent to you directly.
Make sure a stroller or carrier is age appropriate. Check age and weight specifications to ensure a good, and safe, fit for
your child. If a carrier is too big for newborns, it may not protect them
in a car accident. And if a child has outgrown the restraints, it's
time to size up to a new stroller or carrier.
Buckle up. Children should always be properly restrained whenever they are in a carrier
or stroller. It can prevent a younger child from sliding out of the seat
and keep an older toddler from climbing or standing in a stroller, causing
it to tip over.
Hit the brakes. To prevent a stroller from rolling away and causing injury, the wheels
should always be locked.
Read the instruction manual. Know how to properly assemble and care for the stroller or carrier.
Hang items from handles. The extra weight of a diaper bag slung over a stroller handle can cause
the stroller to tip and fall, especially if an infant's weight is
too light to counterbalance the heavy load. Find a stroller that has storage
underneath the baby's seat. And avoid hanging stringed toys on a carrier
handle, as the string could accidentally get looped around the baby's
finger or arm, cutting off circulation, or get twisted around the neck.
Leave kids unattended. It only takes a second for something to happen.
Put carriers in high places. Setting the carrier on a tabletop may make it easier for you to reach your
baby, but if the carrier falls, the height can cause greater injury. If
you need to put your carrier down, floors or other low surfaces are best.
Get distracted. You may think it's no problem to push a stroller while texting or checking
Instagram. But if you don't watch where you're going, you could
trip, hit a pothole or run into something, which could hurt the baby as
well as you.
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