The best high chair should provide adequate safety to the young one, right? However, according to the findings of a study published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, high chairs cause an estimated 9,400 injuries in children below three years in the United States.
While some of these injuries are as a result of manufacturer’s defect, most of them occur as the child tries to stand on the chair. The falls cause injuries predominantly in the head, neck and face. In minor cases, the child may escape with a few bruises and cuts while concussions and death occur in severe falls.
With such an alarming rate of falls, it almost goes without saying that as a parent, you should take precautionary measures to ensure that the accident doesn’t occur at all. What should you do to make sure that the young one remains safe while using a high chair? Below is a safety checklist by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Ensure That the Chair is Sturdy
It all begins here. Even before you look at other safety features, you should make sure that the chair is sturdy and doesn’t tip over easily. The child will move while sitting in that chair and guess what will happen if it’s weak? Yes, he or she will fall, and you can’t rule out the possibility of sustaining severe injuries. That said, how do you ensure that that the chair is sturdy enough? Just check its base. The base should be broad enough to occupy a large space on the floor. The wider the chair’s base, the sturdier it is.
Ensure That the Chair is on a Leveled Surface
The high chair may have a broad base, but if you don’t place it on a leveled surface, you are in essence creating a situation where the little one may fall anytime. Ensuring that the surface is leveled is of particular importance when you’re using the chair outdoors. Level the surface using a spade if that’s what it takes to keep the child safe.
Place the Chair Away from Hazards
Only use the high chair in designated areas such as the dining table if you’re serious about keeping the child safe. Avoid placing the chair in the kitchen, close to fires or sharp objects. Kids, by nature, are inquisitive and will always try to reach to objects even when sitting on the chair and action that exposes them to injuries.
In line with keeping the chair away from the hazard, avoid placing it too close to the dining table lest the child pushes against the table and tips over.
Fasten All the Straps in the Chair
This is perhaps the best way to ensure that that the young one remains safely in the chair. All baby high chairs come with safety straps and five point harness to restrain the child. When the toddler is strapped to the chair, it is possible that even when it tips over, the extent of injuries will reduce significantly. Besides, strapping the young one will prevent him or her from standing on the chair. Remember what the number one cause of baby high chair accidents?
Never Leave the Child in a High Chair Unattended
Always keep a close watch on the baby as they sit in the chair. That way, you can avert a disaster before it happens. If you have to leave the room, ensure that you take the baby with you. Research indicates that kids will reach for hazardous items when left alone in a room. Do not allow older kids to climb or play around the seat as well.
Check the Chair Routinely
A baby high chair, just like any other item that’s used on a regular basis needs a routine checkup. If the child is using a wooden baby chair, ensure that you periodically check the joints. Checking the chair on a routinely will allow you to spot broken parts, loose screws as well as crevices that may be a breeding ground for germs. If you not any potential hazard, stop using the chair until it’s repaired.
Unless it’s Unavoidable, Always use a New Chair
Avoid using an old high chair. Second hand or old high chairs may not offer the same degree of safety as new ones. You’re better off wading into the market for an affordable baby high chair instead of going for a used one. You may consider making one by yourself if you’ve completely run out of options. To get you started, check out our guide on how to build a wooden chair.
You cannot compromise the safety of your child when they’re using a high chair. It is, therefore, important that you do everything possible to ensure they stay safe. The above measures will help you avoid common mistakes most parents make with high chairs and by extension enable the little one to go past the early developmental stage in one piece.