A new study shows about 9,400 children suffer high chair-related injuries every year. The study from the Center for Injury Researchand Policy at Nationwide Children’sHospitalin Columbus, OH indicates a 22% increase in injuries resulting from high chair-related accidents from 2003 to 2010.
The instinctive reaction many Americans will have is “OMG! We have to makehigh chairs safer!” But, is that really the problem?
The most common injury from high chair accidents is a head injury from children falling. Most of the children, who were injured, fell while climbing or standing on the high chair. In case you haven’t noticed, high chairs--along with car seats and strollers--now have child restraint features that were not part of the world many of us grew up in. Have you seen child car seats and strollers today? It looks like these devices were designed to withstand a child re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere!
In the interest of making the world safer for children - we may be endangering children. From safety regulations for toys, car seats, strollers, high chairs and everything and anything a child might play with or be placed in, the government and the groups that push for countless safety regulations are giving parents a false sense of security about the safety of their kids. If something is on sale and available for consumers to buy for their children, there seems to be this idea that the products have been so scrutinized that they are 100% safe.
I am all for making the world as safe as we can for children and for doing all we can to protect children, but this lofty goal may be leading to…parents paying less attention to their children.
The newly released study on child injuries from high chair-related accidents suggests it is not the high chair that is causing injuries – it’s the parents, who are obviously not paying close attention to their children. In the media, the tendency is to blame the animate object or product and not the parents or adults, who failed to closely monitor their children. And, in the litigious world in which we now live, lawyers are more successful at suing a company that manufactures a product than suing parents who are void of common sense.
It’s called a high chair because it is a chair that’s higher off the ground than a regular chair – thus boosting the child to an adult level at the table. Obviously, some parents are putting their children in high chairs and assuming that with the child restraint features their children are safe while they pay attention to other things – like cooking or texting. If most of the injuries suffered by children from high chairs are the result of children climbing or standing on the chairs, then the parent-on-duty must have been ignoring the activities of the child. Can’t blame the high chair for that!
Another possible reason for the increase in injuries from high chairs is the wealth of publicity out today on concussions. The increase may also come from more parents bringing their children to the emergency room when they fall, which is a positive action.
Recently, I did a show on the annual report released from the U.S. Public InterestResearch Group titled “Trouble in Toyland.” The report lists the toys that may pose a threat to children. One of the toys that made the list this holiday season is the Fisher-Price Loving Family Outdoor Barbeque, which comes with plastic food items that are small and realistic so children may be tempted to put them in their mouths and choke. Think of all the things we played with as kids that included items we could have choked on? The difference is our parents seemed to be more vigilant at watching us and didn’t assume everything had been scrutinized by the safety police.
The constant effort to make the world a safer place for children is noble and right, but not at the expense of taking away the need for parents to use common sense. I hope you didn’t need a new study to tell you that your children should not be climbing or standing on their high chairs? I hope you don’t need the government to tell you that child restraint features don’t replace the attentive eye of parents.
Collins English Dictionary defines common sense as “plain ordinary goodjudgment.” Imagine how safe the world would be for children – and adults – if we all used common sense?