Baby Walkers What to Look for When Shopping for One
What's the most dangerous form of transportation on earth? Believe it or not, it's the baby walker and your child could be its next victim.
This was revealed by the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics which are both calling for a ban on the manufacture and sale of mobile baby walkers that are responsible for over 25,000 child injuries in the United States each year.
Researchers at Ohio State University College of Medicine reported in the journal Pediatrics that despite adult supervision, infants in walkers received injuries such as contusions and abrasions, concussions and head injuries, lacerations, and skull fractures.
"The vast majority (96 percent) of the children were injured after falling down stairs in the walker, with more serious injuries occurring when infants fell more than 10 stairs," researchers said.
"Amazingly, this is the tip of the iceberg as probably over 90 percent of walker accidents are not considered severe enough to come to the attention of the physician, although they may cause extensive anxiety and guilt in the parents," added members of the Injury Prevention Committee of the Canadian Pediatrics Society.
Despite these hazards, walkers are extremely popular - they are used in 80 to 90 percent of households and parents buy more than three million a year.
Drs. C.A. Kavanagh and L. Panco reported in the American Journal of Diseases of Children that between 77 and 86 percent of babies between 5 and 10 months of age use walkers. Seventy-five percent of parents bought the device to keep their kids quiet and happy. Unfortunately, that has not been the case as the high accident toll from walkers shows.
In 1984, 24,000 children were injured in walkers according to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). That grim scenario hasn't changed. In 1991, 29,000 children sustained fractures, concussions, dislocations, and other injuries as a result of walkers. In 1993, hospital emergency departments treated 25,000 infants injured in walkers. Most of those injuries came from falls down stairs.
"Each year about 200,000 more suffer less severe walker injuries. Between 1989 and 1993, 11 infants died in walker-related accidents," according to the editors of Health News.
Walkers were first perceived as dangerous in 1982 when several medical reports surfaced showing them to cause injury in children below a year old. A Canadian study that looked into 139 walker injuries said the head was the most vulnerable part in accidents involving this device. This was confirmed by another study that showed that 42 percent of babies under age two who were injured in walkers suffered serious head wounds.
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