Injuries caused by baby carriers soaring

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Injuries to youngsters involving nursery products - particularly baby carriers - are soaring, warns a new study.

And more effort is needed to make nursery products safer, say experts.

A child three years old or younger is treated in hospital about every eight minutes in the United States for a nursery product-related injury - around 66,000 children each year, according to the research.

The study, published online by the journal Paediatrics, looked back over 21 years of figures from January 1991 to December 2011.

During the early years of the study there was a "significant decline" in the number of injuries, which was attributed to a decrease in injuries from baby walkers.

But, in the last eight years of the study period, the number of nursery product-related injuries steadily increased, rising by 23.7 per cent.

The nursery product-related injuries seen in the study were most commonly associated with baby carriers (20 per cent), cribs or mattresses (19 per cent), and strollers/carriages (17 per cent).

The injuries typically (88 per cent) occurred at home, and most (80 per cent) were due to a fall. The majority of the injuries were to the head, face or neck (81 per cent).

Study senior author Doctor Gary Smith, director of the Centre for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in the US, said: "We have achieved great success in preventing baby walker-related injuries by improving the design of the product and instituting better safety standards.

"We now need to aggressively apply this approach to other nursery products. It is unacceptable that we are still seeing so many injuries to young children from these products."

Tracy Mehan, manager of translational research at the Centre for Injury Research and Policy, said: "Many of the injuries associated with nursery products are to the head or face.

"For children this young, these can be quite serious. Of particular concern was the increase in the number and rate of concussions in recent years."

The researchers recommend that parents and caregivers follow the '4 Rs' - do your research, check for recalls, register the product, and read the manual.