Strollers, car carriers send thousands of kids to ERs

Story highlights

  • Every hour, two toddlers are treated for injuries related to strollers or car carriers, study finds
  • Some children suffer concussions, which can harm development, learning and behavior

(CNN)Every hour, two children 5 or younger are treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to strollers or car carriers, according to researchers.

Nearly 361,000 toddlers were treated in hospitals for injuries caused by falls or tip-overs during the 21-year period ending in 2010, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Academic Pediatrics.
Most often, children suffered head injuries (nearly 62% of the total incidents) and face injuries (nearly 25%).
    "I'm a mom. I have two young children, and I use strollers and carriers to transport my children around," said Kristin Roberts, author of the study and a research associate in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. "We expect strollers and carriers to be safe and provide a secure way to transport children."

    Increasing number of concussions and traumatic brain injuries

    Even if most of the injuries are simple bumps and bruises, others can be serious, Roberts said.
    She and her colleagues used data gathered from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. This database, which is operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, tracks injuries related to sports, recreation and consumer products that have been treated in emergency rooms across the country.
    Roberts and her colleagues searched the database for children age 5 or younger who sustained an injury during an accident involving a stroller or carrier between the years 1990 and 2010. A total of 360,937 children were treated in emergency rooms for these kinds of accidents, an average of 17,187 each year, the research team discovered.
    For stroller-related accidents, slightly more than half the patients were male, and 42% were younger than 12 months. Nearly 40% of the patients were diagnosed with a soft-tissue injury such as a bruise. However, almost a quarter were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury/concussion.
    "A concussion is considered to be a mild brain injury," said Courtney N. Lenard, a spokeswoman at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, explaining that most children recover quickly from a mild brain injury. Still, at a young age, even a mild brain injury can harm a child's development, learning and behavior.