So what could possibly go wrong with a child in a stroller? More than you might think at first glance. Because it’s a place where children often spend a great deal of time, every possible defect or problem that could go wrong eventually will with some child, on account of the sheer number of kids using them. These precautions will help ensure your child is never one of those statistics.
Common child stroller accidents and injuries:
Here are some things that most frequently go wrong.
- Children catch their fingers in the hinges, causing crushed bones or lacerations.
- Strollers fold up with the child inside, entrapping them.
- Children become entangled in parts of the stroller and risk being strangled or having circulation cut off to parts of their body.
- Children have been injured and killed by ‘submarining,’ meaning their body slides under the tray or arm bar but their head gets stuck, posing a strangulation risk.
- A runaway stroller is either hit by a car, tips and sends a child head first into the pavement, or otherwise injures a child.
Children injured in runaway stroller accidents
It sounds like a scene from a cartoon, yet it actually does happen. A parent parks a stroller on a bit of an incline, and then for one reason or another it starts rolling away, baby inside. In the best of cases a frantic parent looks silly chasing it down the sidewalk. In worst cases, it rolls into the street and is struck by a passing car or tips over and injures the child inside. There are several main causes for runaway strollers:
- Parents think the brakes on the stroller are engaged when they are not.
- Due to a defect, breakage, or wear and tear, the brakes slip out of position or fail to properly engage.
- The child (or another child) manages to disengage the brakes.
- The parent never sets the brakes, thinking the stroller is positioned in an area where it won’t roll.
- The parent gets distracted.
Child stroller safety: Preventing runaway strollers
- Do not rely on turning the stroller sideways as a way of parking it on a slope. Children can wiggle it loose – which they commonly do when the parent walks away and they are perturbed at this and want to join.
- Attach a child safety leash to the stroller and around your wrist so that you have movement but it can’t roll away without you realizing it.
Child stroller safety: Pinched, lacerated and amputated fingers
Children are often injured by the hinges in strollers. A November 2010 report in Good Housekeeping examined 36 different strollers and found 10 with hinges that could catch and injure a child’s finger. Many recalls during the past years have taken place because of problems with the hinge devices that relate to the folding or unfolding of the stroller. The injuries caused by this can be as minor as a cut or pinch or as severe as completely lacerating and cutting off a child’s finger.
Preventing these stroller injuries:
- Keep children a safe distance away when folding and unfolding strollers.
- Use a pencil to find any “pinch points” on your stroller where tiny fingers could get caught. If the pencil goes in and can get stuck, so can a child’s fingers. Pay close attention to these areas and keep your youngster’s hands away.
Other stroller safety tips:
- Keep children strapped in their stroller seats. Never place a child into a stroller seat un-harnessed. This allows them to slip down and possibly become entangled.
- Don’t use a secondhand stroller with broken or missing parts, nor one that seems excessively wobbly. Just like a crib, too much give can open up spaces that could entrap or strangle a child.
- Always make sure that when unfolding your stroller, you hear it lock in place.
- Test the tray or arm bar of your stroller to ensure that it’s not possible for your child to slip underneath it with their body but not their head.