Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Too many children injured by baby walkers, study finds

Too many children injured by baby walkers, study finds

Injuries were most likely to be caused by children falling down stairs, falling out of the walker or being injured because the walker allowed children to access dangers such as hot objects.

That is a troubling statistic.

The study found that although the intention behind walkers is to increase mobility and independence, instead "injuries can be severe and can include skull fracture, brain injury, burns, poisoning, and drowning". "These are major injuries when they occur, and they are completely preventable".

Parents often use infant walkers to help their children learn how to walk and move around but studies actually show that they delay mental and motor development, according to the team.

A number of doctors are calling for a ban on infant walkers, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, noting that a ban is now in place in Canada.

"I view infant walkers as inherently risky objects that have no benefit whatsoever and should not be sold in the US", Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, told NPR.

Additionally, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported there were eight child deaths associated with baby walkers from 2004 to 2008. In 2010, the CPSC imposed a few additional - and this time, mandatory - safety measures, including ones that made it easier to keep non-complying baby walkers from being imported into the U.S.

Data shows that injuries went down after a federal safety standard was implemented in 2010 but still occur regularly, as the researchers noted that numerous implementations are effective initially but wear out over time.

The number of infant walker-related injuries did decrease dramatically during the study period - from 20,650 in 1990 down to 2,001 in 2014.

Roberto Firmino dons glasses on return to Liverpool FC training
Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for Daniel Sturridge after the Englishman's performance in the 3-2 win over PSG on Tuesday night. And Liverpool are doing all the right shaping at all the right times.

Health Canada defines them as those "that are mounted on wheels or on any other device permitting movement of the walker and that have an enclosed area supporting the baby in a sitting or standing position so that their feet touch the floor, thereby enabling the horizontal movement of the walker".

Almost three quarters of the injuries occurred after the walker and child fell down stairs.

Nearly 5 percent of the children sustained injuries so severe they had to be admitted to the hospital. The number of injuries from falling down stairs dropped by 91 percent. Even more baffling, 32 percent of parents said they continued to use the device even after the injury.

The study also uncovered a remarkably positive finding, however.

Most of that decline occurred during the 1990s. Collecting information from United States emergency departments somewhere between the years 1990 and 2014, Smith along with his group are the first to explore the impact that the federal government's 2010 mandatory safety standards for baby walkers have had.

One of the authors of the study, Dr. Gary Smith, said he's had an interest in baby walker-related injuries since he began his medical training 30 years ago. "However, it is important for families to understand that these products are still causing serious injuries to young children and should not be used".

Infant walkers remain a "preventable source of injury" for young kids, enough that researchers believe they should be banned in the US, says authors of a new study.

In addition to recommending against the use of the devices, the AAP urges parents to dismantle any baby walker in their households before tossing it into the trash.

Like this: