Child stroller injuries on the rise - here's how to prevent them

It only takes a second for a child to fall out of their stroller or carrier, but it accounts for a surprising number of emergency department visits.

Using a stroller or carrier may seem like second nature to many parents, but a new study shows more than 17,000 children are treated in emergency departments each year for injuries related to them.

Take for example Justin and Lauren Bird. Life is busy with their 2-year-old twins, so they rely on their double stroller to get their boys around.

But they learned that it only takes a few seconds for an injury to occur.

"When I wasn't watching him, he climbed up on the stroller and stood up on it and then tried to climb up the back and that's when just his weight transferred and it yipped over, onto his face," Justin says.

Those types of injuries are more common than you might think.

In fact, a new study by researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital shows that over a 21-year period, more than 360,000 children were treated in emergency departments for injuries related to strollers and carries. That's about two injuries every hour.

"We know that this is just the tip of the iceberg because this data does not include injuries that were treated by other healthcare providers in other healthcare settings, or that were treated at home," says Kristi Roberts, MS, MPH, Nationwide Children's Hospital.

She led the study and says the majority of the incidents were caused by falls, and that in 2010, over 40 percent of the documented injuries were concussions.

New federal safety standards for stroller and carriers were put into place in 2014, but common mistakes can still lead to injuries that parents should avoid.

First, make sure the product you're using is not under recall and is appropriate for your child's age and size.

"As parents, we use these devices to transport our most precious cargo, and it's easy to look away just for a second. We want to encourage to always buckle their child into these devices and make sure that they're properly restrained," says Roberts.

Keep the carrier low near the ground and not on an elevated surface. Never let older children push a stroller alone and avoid the temptation to put heavy bags on handlebars, which can cause a stroller to tip.

"Those should be stowed, tucked away underneath the stroller in the basket provided," says Roberts.

Because as the Birds know, it only takes an instant to turn a routine ride in a stroller, into a trip to the hospital.

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