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A baby high chair is a great way to get your baby involved in eating with the rest of the family, but every year thousands of children are injured due to high chair related accidents. While most parents are very good about keeping a close eye on their baby while they use their high chair, but it’s not hard for parents to become complacent after using it for weeks and months. After all, it doesn’t seem like much could go wrong, and there’s never been any problem up until that point, right?
However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth; it’s very important that you always exercise safety precautions when letting your baby use his or her high chair. Even the best high chair can be unsafe if used improperly.
A study released in 2000 states that there are thousands of injuries to children aged three and under each year due to high chairs. That’s a staggering number—especially when you consider that many of those injuries could have been prevented. A vast majority of the injuries were due to the children trying to stand up in their high chair—this of course being because they weren’t properly strapped in. Most of the other injuries were due to the same issue, and it can also lead to injuries such as slipping down under the tray, leading to strangulation.
Now, don’t let this scare you. While it’s very possible for a child to injure themselves in a high chair, this only applies if you fail to use it properly. There are some simple safety tips and precautions that you can follow which should make your baby’s high chair experience completely safe.
Although there are thousands of injuries due to misuse of a high chair every year, it doesn’t mean that they are unsafe. As long as you use it properly, and always keep a close eye on your child, you should have no trouble. Here are some tips for making sure that your baby is always safe in their high chair.
Considering the above, it’s always recommended that you purchase a baby high chair that has a good restraint system, and always use it when your baby is using the high chair. Most good high chairs sold these days will come equipped with a five-point harness, similar to what you’re used to seeing in an infant car seat.
Never, ever let your child use the high chair without using the restraint.
Make sure that the area you place the high chair on is flat and level. An unlevel floor is a terrible hazard for any child in a high chair, because it makes it possible for them to accidentally knock it over, even if they are properly restrained. Furthermore, you might want to consider purchasing a high chair that has a wide base, which can further reduce the chances of it tipping over.
Also make sure to keep the high chair away from any dangerous objects. Remember that children can be very curious, and even the most mundane of objects can quickly end up in a child’s mouth, becoming a choking hazard. Similarly, keep it away from obvious hazards like stoves, hanging cords on drapes or blinds, or any other object that might cause harm to a child.
When your child is in the high chair, be sure that someone is always supervising. Even if they’re restrained, accidents do happen! You should never leave your child unattended in the high chair, especially when they start to get older and realize that they can undo the straps themselves.
Don’t let your child play on or near the high chair, nor climb into it on their own, either. It’s very easy for them to accidentally topple it over this way.
You should routinely look the high chair over to make sure that it is free of defects and that nothing has come loose or broken. Give it a thorough inspection, checking for loose screws or bolts, splinters (if a wooden chair), broken parts, food stuck in crevices, etc. If you find that there is anything loose or broken, fix it immediately, and if it can’t be fixed then you should no longer use the high chair.
Baby gear safety standards are changing all the time, and while all high chairs for sale in the United States have to meet federal safety standards, this doesn’t apply to used high chairs. Furthermore, there is always the possibility of an older, used high chair having defects or missing parts.
While it might seem like a quaint idea to use an old, antique high chair, they are not at all up to date with current safety standards. It is strongly recommended that you never use an old high chair—buy new, if at all possible.
There’s no reason to worry about baby high chair safety… as long as you do your part as a parent and exercise proper safety precautions! It’s pretty simple: use a new, up-t0-date high chair, always keep them restrained in it, and always be supervising them. As long as you do this, there really shouldn’t be any problems at all.
(Photo by mbaylor)