Safety research: The simple pram feature parents aren’t using correctly

baby in pram

Parents are being urged by experts to secure their children properly in prams and strollers after new research has worryingly revealed a large number of babies are being admitted to hospital after falling out.

Prams putting kids at risk

The Queensland University of Technology has published a new report in the September International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health where they examined injuries in young children caused by a range of products with mandatory safety standards such as cots, prams, bunk beds, nightwear and baby-walkers. 

The biggest culprit? Incorrectly used prams and strollers. According to the report, “around half of all emergency department presentations and admissions” for product injuries in babies under 12 months old was the result of a pram or stroller injury. 

Upsetting figures

Data from three Queensland medical sources found that 708 children aged 14 years and younger were admitted to hospital between 2006 and 2012 as a result of pram falls. However, 51 percent of all pram-related injuries were for babies under 12 months of age. Given these figures are estimated to make up only 25 percent of the total hospital admission rate in Queensland, it therefore means the total amount of babies injured nationally by prams is much, much higher than this. 54 percent of all pram injuries also occurred to boys, and 90 percent of the hospital admissions were head injuries.

 

baby in pram carriage

Easily preventable

So why so many injuries? While the mandatory standard for prams and strollers came into effect on 1 July 2008 (covering things such as performance testing and safety labels), given falls from prams were the most common cause of product injuries in children, researchers believe it’s because parents are failing to fasten the safety straps as per the information labels and warnings, and not supervising infants properly when in the pram. 

Previous QLD research also supports this theory, with nearly 10 percent of all pram injuries caused by children tipping out of prams while travelling on escalators or down stairs. 


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Safety reminder needed

The authors of the most recent study concluded that the alarming statistics highlight the importance of using safety straps for children in prams, something which should be communicated more effectively to parents. And we couldn’t agree more.

 

boy stroller beach

Pram safety tips

So if you’re new to the parenting life, or need to brush up on your pram and stroller safety tips, then here are some reminders from Raising Children Network:

  • Buy well – Before you purchase a pram or stroller check that it meets the Australian safety standards, has a five-point harness, parking brakes and a strong frame.
  • Use the safety harness – Every single time, no matter how far your distance is or how resistant your child might be.
  • Don’t hang bags – Using the handles to hold bags or other items can create uneven weight and cause the pram to tip over. Put them in the basket underneath instead.
  • Put on the brakes – Whenever you’re stopped, even if it’s a flat surface, as your child might be able to get the pram moving again.
  • Hold the pram – Always supervise your child when they’re in the pram and have your hand through the safety strap to avoid it rolling into danger. If they fall asleep either move them to their cot, but don’t leave them unattended as they could tip the pram over.
  • Teach your kids – Tell siblings not to stand on the pram which could cause it to tip over, and once your child in the pram is old enough, ask them not to lean forward or try and stand up.
  • Lock securely – Ensure all folding mechanisms are locked in place to avoid the pram collapsing or your child’s fingers or limbs getting stuck.
  • Keep carriage light – Be careful not to put too many things in the pram with your baby, including blankets and toys, as they could pose a suffocation risk.
  • Watch bumpy services – Be careful what surfaces you’re going over as uneven, rocky paths or similar can cause a pram to fall.
  • Mind the gap – Ask other people to help you lift your pram safely on and off buses and trains or down the stairs, and don’t use escalators.

If your child suffers a fall from a pram or stroller, be sure to always see a doctor to check for serious injuries.

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