Most parents assume that high chairs and booster seats are safe, even though millions have been recalled in recent years. Now, researchers have observed injuries in children age 3 years and younger who were treated in U.S. emergency departments from 2003 through 2010. Researchers found that more than 9,400 children were treated each year for an injury associated with a high chair or booster seat, equaling one child every hour nationally.
The study by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute of Nationwide Children’s Hospital also found that nearly all injuries associated with a high chair or booster seat involved a fall (93 percent). In the cases that reported what the child was doing right before the fall, two-thirds of the children injured were standing or climbing in the chair, which suggests that the chair’s safety restraint system was not being used or was ineffective.
Gary Smith, MD, DrPH, Director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, says that many parents assume the tray will keep a child from jumping or falling out. However, he stresses that the tray was not designed as a restraint, so using the safety straps is essential.