Study linking infant walkers to hundreds of thousands of injuries in children strengthens calls for a U.S. ban

by John Chapman

A new study published by the journal Pediatrics has found that infant walkers caused hundreds of thousands of children to be hospitalized in the U.S. over a 25 year period. Health experts have called on federal regulators to ban infant walkers in the U.S. because of the risks they pose for causing serious injuries to young children.

According to the Pediatrics study, more than 230,000 children ages 15 months or younger were hospitalized in the U.S. between 1990 and 2014 because of injuries sustained while using an infant walker. The injuries included more than 6,500 children who suffered skull fractures. The overwhelming majority of these cases – 91% — were caused when the child fell down a flight of stairs.

While the majority of serious injuries caused by infant walkers involve falling down stairs, children may be at risk of other injuries from using these products. Other causes of injury linked to infant walkers include falling out of the walker and proximity-related injuries, which involve the child pulling or touching an object that they were able to reach because they were in the walker.

The number of injuries involving infant walkers has fallen in the U.S. in recent years as other products have grown more popular, in part due to safety concerns. In 1994, injuries caused by infant walkers began to fall with the introduction of stationary activity centers – which provide many of the benefits of infant walkers but which do not have wheels. After U.S. safety officials issued new safety regulations for infant walkers in 2010, the rate of injuries caused by these products fell again. Product recalls involving infant walkers and the decreased sale of these products may have also influenced the decline in injuries.

Yet despite the decreased popularity of these products, infant walkers continue to injure thousands of children in the U.S. every year. According to the Pediatrics study, infant walkers are still responsible for about 9,000 injuries every year.

Dr. Gary Smith, the lead author of the Pediatrics study, said that there are no benefits to using infant walkers over safer products, such as stationary activity centers. Dr. Smith said that because of the risk of serious injury to children posed by infant walkers, parents should not use these products.

Due to the high number of serious injuries linked to infant walkers, safety officials in Canada have already banned the sale of these products. Experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics say that officials in the U.S. should also ban the sale of infant walkers in this country.

Lawsuits Filed on Behalf of Injured Children and Infants by HO&P

If your child was injured by a defective or dangerous consumer product, you may be able to take legal action by filing a product liability claim. The first step in filing a lawsuit on behalf of your child is to speak with an attorney with the experience in product liability cases to advise you regarding your rights and guide you through the first steps in filing a case.

The lawyers at Heygood have tried literally hundreds of cases to verdict and have settled hundreds more on behalf of our clients, including cases involving injuries to children and infants. Our attorneys are immensely proud of the work we have done on behalf children who have been unfortunately injured as a result of the negligence of others.

If your child or loved one has been injured as a result of dangerous consumer products or other causes, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free case evaluation. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free products liability contact form and answering a few questions about your case to get started.