Although stroller and other child safety technologies have advanced over the years, they are still not 100% safe in every situation. During a five-year study, there were an estimated 64,373 stroller-related injuries to children three years old and younger. In the study, 70% of children came to hospitals for stroller-related head traumas. Stroller injuries are unfortunately common, particularly in the first year of a child’s life. Learn how to prevent stroller injuries, and help ensure your child does not become a statistic.
Choose Your Stroller Wisely
Stroller safety begins with buying the right stroller for your child. There are a variety of stroller designs available to parents today, each with its own pros and cons. When looking for strollers for your baby, consider where you will be using the device. If you live in a city, for example, you will need one that can maneuver along sidewalks and collapse to fit onto a bus or subway. In more rural locations, you may need a more durable stroller for dirt roads that can fold to fit inside your vehicle’s trunk. Also, think about when you will be using the stroller. There are special strollers designed for jogging, for instance.
Your child’s age is a major consideration when choosing a stroller. A newborn needs a stroller that reclines, since newborns cannot sit up or support the weight of their heads. Some strollers work with a bassinet attachment or infant car seat. Jogging strollers and umbrella strollers typically are not meant for newborns younger than six months old, as they do not provide adequate head support. If your baby has special needs, the stroller needs storage for any necessary equipment.
Check Your Stroller’s Brakes
A stroller rolling into traffic is a parent’s worst nightmare. Help prevent this tragedy by choosing a stroller with practical, easy to operate brakes. A special safety feature on some strollers is brakes that lock two wheels for extra protection. The brakes should be easy to engage, but not easy to disengage. Make sure the brake release lever is out of reach of your child while in the stroller. Always engage your brakes when you stop the stroller. Check for stroller recalls to ensure that you do not purchase one with a known defect or hazard.
Know Your Stroller’s Pinch Points
Most strollers today are expertly designed to prevent child injuries. Checking the design for yourself, however, is an excellent way to ensure you purchase the safest one for your needs. Many stroller injuries result from pinched or caught extremities, leading to lacerations or crushed bones. If you need a double stroller, for example, look for one with a single footrest to avoid your child’s feet becoming trapped between separate footrests.
Often, strollers have hinges that may injure a child’s fingers. Manufacturers have even recalled several models for this reason over the years. Use the pencil test to check for other parts of the stroller that could potentially pinch or injure your child. If the pencil can go into a point and get stuck, your child’s fingers are at risk. Keep a close eye to keep your child’s hands away from recognized pinch points, and keep children a safe distance away while folding and unfolding the stroller.
Stay Close to the Stroller
Never leave your child unattended in the stroller or unbuckled. Watch out for any situation that could lead to the stroller tipping over, as this is a common cause of stroller-related head injuries. Avoid hanging heavy items on the stroller’s handlebars to further prevent this issue, and ensure that your child is within the weight limits of the stroller. Prevent accidents from happening by knowing what to look out for and staying close to your child while in the stroller.