Baby injuries caused by infant walkers have shrunk has the standards for these child products have tightened. Fewer people are using them and product designs are more stringent. However, a new study has found that despite this, there are still thousands of baby injuries every year, supporting the stance of may child safety, health and advocacy groups that these products should be banned.
It’s not a new position. For instance, the American Academy of Pediatrics has been pushing for a ban on these devices as far back as 1982, when concerns among health care professionals was first raised.
West Palm Beach defective product injury attorneys have noted many of the product liability lawsuits filed against manufacturers and distributors have founded their claims on theories of strict liability (unreasonably dangerous when used as intended), negligence (defective design, defective manufacturing and failure to warn) and breach of express and implied warranties concerning safety.
In the journal Pediatrics, researchers reported that children most often suffer infant walker injuries when they fall down stairs in the walkers or reach for dangerous objects that might otherwise be out of reach. It’s not as if they serve any developmental purpose either. In fact, there is a fair amount of evidence suggesting infant walkers delay motor development.
A voluntary standard was implemented by the industry about 30 years ago calling for the frames of the walkers to be wider than the average door frame. Even stricter safety standards were officially regulated 18 years ago. Still, pediatricians are urging the walkers to be banned nonetheless.
Researchers preparing for this study looked at trends of child injuries sustained after those national standards were passed. With data on emergency visits for children younger than 15 months, they discovered more than 230,00 infant walker injuries reported from 1990 through 2014.
Falls down stairways were No. 1, accounting or three-fourths of all baby injuries cause by walkers. Falling out of the walker was another major problem. Roughly 9 in 10 injuries sustained were to the head or neck and 5 percent of those infants had to be admitted to the hospital.
The good news is the number of child injuries annually resulting from infant walkers is down. Whereas there were approximately 21,000 child injuries counted in 1990, there were 3,200 reported a dozen years later – a decline of 85 percent. The voluntary standards implemented are credited with reducing infant walker injuries, which dropped another 38 percent from 2003 to 2014.
Nonetheless, we still have 2,000 babies every year in this country being treated at hospital emergency rooms. That’s too many. Furthermore, the warnings issued on these devices are being described as ineffective, failing to let parents know how serious their child’s injuries can be and the fact that they must be closely supervising at all times. Product manufacturers may not intend for infant walkers to be used as “babysitters,” but it’s a common and thus reasonably foreseeable use for which manufacturers and distributors need to account when making the product and also issuing warnings to consumers.
As dangerous child product attorneys can explain, manufacturers have a duty to be especially cautious when it comes to products made for children and infants and warn parents of known and foreseeable hazards if they are not mitigated.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Study: Infant walker injuries support AAP’s call for a ban, Sept. 18, 2018, AAP News
More Blog Entries:
Florida Product Liability Injuries and Safer Alternative Design, May 4, 2018, Fort Lauderdale Product Liability Attorney Blog