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Rise in U.S. High Chair Injuries Stuns Experts

Either safety straps aren't working or adults don't use them properly, researchers say

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This could eliminate many serious head injuries, he believes. According to the study, the most frequent ER diagnosis after a high chair fall is a concussion or internal head injury, otherwise known as a "closed head injury." This type of head trauma accounted for 37 percent of high chair injuries, and its frequency climbed by nearly 90 percent during the eight years studied.

Nearly six in 10 children experienced an injury to their head or neck after a high chair fall, while almost three in 10 experienced a facial injury, the study found.

Injuries related to falls from traditional chairs were more likely to be broken bones, cuts and bruises.

For now, Smith said, the top three things parents can do to ensure their child's safety: "Use the restraint, use the restraint, use the restraint!"

The tray is not meant to be a restraint. Children need to be buckled in, he added.

Also, supervision is a must. Stay with your child during meal time and make sure he or she doesn't defeat the restraint, he said. "Even if a chair does meet current safety standards and the restraint is used properly, there's never 100 percent on this . . . Parents will always need to be vigilant."

Also, if the high chair has wheels, lock them in place. Make sure the high chair is stable, and position it away from walls or counters that the child can push against.

Kate Carr, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based group Safe Kids Worldwide, described the findings as a wake-up call.

"An alarming number of children under the age of 3 are seen in emergency departments," she said. "This is an important reminder for parents and caregivers to take the time to make sure their children are safe and secure in their high chairs."

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