baby highchairHere's a scary statistic for parents. Would you believe that one child every hour is injured in an incident involving a highchair? Believe it, Moms and Dads! Parents may have been using the little stations to bring baby to the dinner table for generations, but it turns out we're actually getting worse at using them, not better!

Over the eight years of a study of highchair safety, doctors said injuries actually increased 20 percent. And we're not just talking little scratches. Kids are suffering from brain injuries that send them to the ER. Seriously, parents, what gives?

It's not the highchairs, folks!

The doctors at Nationwide Children's Hospital lay the blame for 9,400 highchair injuries a year (that's JUST the injuries that landed a kid in an ER) on parents.

So what do you need to do to keep your baby safe?

1. Read the darn directions. I know, I know, you're smarter than a hunk of plastic. But set your ego aside for five minutes and humor me. It could save your baby from a lump on the noggin.

2. Use the straps, not just the tray, as a restraint. According to the data, two-thirds of the children hurt were either climbing or standing in the chair right before they fell. That means they were not strapped in ... at least not strapped in tightly enough that they wouldn't fall.

3. Put the highchair away when not in use. Not always easy if you have a small kitchen, but an empty chair is mighty inviting for a child to climb up on ... and fall out of! Chairs with wheels can also be dangerous for babies who are starting to pull up. They can pull up to standing, using the bars of the highchair for stability, only for the wheels to start rolling the chair away, dropping them on the floor.

4. Don't place the chair too close to the table (at least not when you're going to walk away). Many kids in the study had actually pushed off from the table with their feet and tipped themselves backward. Kids who are close to the table also have a tendency to reach out and grab at things -- including knives and hot liquids.

5. Check for recalls! The injuries were mostly from the above safety concerns, but highchairs do get recalled, and it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Has your child ever been hurt in the highchair? What happened?

 

Image via DK Limited/Corbis