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A Slower Pace for Baby Walker Injuries :

September 18, 2018

Quite a lot of work in injury prevention from these devices has happened since then.

In 2006, we published the prevalence of baby walker injuries based on data collected from 1990 to 2001 (10.1542/peds.2005-1916). Quite a lot of work in injury prevention from these devices has happened since then.  For example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2010 instituted mandatory safety standards for baby walkers, making these devices safer than they had ever been before.  Did the safety standards contribute to a decline in the prevalence of baby walker injuries?  A new study by Sims et al. (10.1542/peds.2017-4332) looks into this question.  The authors reviewed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance system, used in the prior study, and now extended the data from 2001 to 2014—a total period of 25 years involving 230,676 reported baby walker injuries to children less than 15 months of age.  While a decline in injuries had been noted in the prior study, this updated version shows a 22.7 percent decrease during the 4 years after the federal mandatory safety standards were implemented. Is this the reason for the decline?  This study really cannot answer that directly, but in the setting of an overall decline in injury rates due to walkers over the past quarter century and less unsafe walkers still existing in homes, there certainly is reason to celebrate (although not to remove those gates at the tops of stairs). The AAP in 2001 called for a ban on the manufacture and sale of baby walkers, but they do continue to exist, and while made more safely, we would be happy if these devices simply walked out of people’s homes never to return.  This study and the report of the fewer but still meaningful injuries that occur should not change what the AAP recommended and what we need to continue to recommend—an end to baby walkers entirely.

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