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Highchair-Related Injuries on the Rise: Why It's Time To Rethink Where Baby Eats

high chairIt’s hard not to view a highchair as a safe place where you can park baby for a bit to enjoy a handful of Cheerios while you try and get some housework done.

I’ve done it, you’ve probably done it. But, as Today reports, highchairs aren’t as safe as they’re often perceived and, in fact, injuries from highchairs are rising so fast even some experts are stunned.

The study, published in the journal of Clinical Pediatrics, reports between 2003 and 2010, an average of 9,400 children were treated annually in U.S. emergency rooms as a result of highchair-related injuries.

“That’s a child every hour in this country that’s injured from association with a high chair,” Dr. Gary Smith, study researcher and pediatrician tells NBC News. Researchers aren’t sure why injuries are increasing. The most common injury: head trauma as a result of falling. Also, parents aren’t strapping their kids in correctly.

As Dr. Smith notes, “When it was documented what the child was doing immediately prior to a fall, two-thirds of those children were either climbing or standing in the chair. Which tells us that one of the things that parents need to remember is those children need to be strapped in … to prevent those kinds of injuries.”

Here’s the deal. It’s high time for a highchair redesign. Highchair designs have been the same for decades. If head injuries are so prevalent, why highchairs? Why not lowchairs? I realize the chairs are made to pull up to the family table but is keeping the child closer to the floor really that big of a deal? Why not create super bottom-heavy chairs with safety bars similar to an amusement park ride? What’s with the stupid rope-like straps?

It’s nearly 2014, is what I’m saying. People are working on cars that fly, a simple highchair redesign can’t be that difficult, right?

Until you can hop in your flying car and go buy a slick new low chair for your baby, be sure and use your highchair properly. Always strap in your baby, don’t put the chair near any area that your baby can use as leverage to kick off from or reach dangerous objects, and stay with your child every second so he doesn’t climb up on the wobbly chair and knock it over. Kidding on that last one! Kind of …

Image source: Flickr.com/JoeShlabotnik

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