Expert Commentary

Injuries in cribs, playpens and bassinets among U.S. children

2011 study in Pediatrics, the journal of American Academy of Pediatrics, on nonfatal injuries to infants from cribs and related products.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nine million cribs have been recalled since September 2007 because of safety issues. While many studies have been conducted on the rate of infant mortalities which occurred in cribs, playpens and bassinets, until recently little was known about the non-fatal injuries.

In 2011, Pediatrics, the journal of American Academy of Pediatrics, published a study on the “Injuries Associated with Cribs, Playpens and Bassinets Among Young Children in the U.S.” The researchers examined national hospital records over a 19-year period; during that time, there was an average of 9,561 cases per year or an average of 12.1 injuries per 10,000 children younger than 2 years old per year.

The study’s findings include:

  • Cribs were involved in 83% of the injuries; 13% involved playpens and 4% bassinets.
  • The two most common injuries were soft tissue injury (34.1%) and concussion or closed head injury (21.1%).
  • In comparison with other common causes of infant non-fatal injury, concussions, closed head injuries and lacerations were three to four times more likely to occur when children fell from a crib, playpen or bassinet.
  • In nearly all of the incidents, the infant was alone — only 2% involved a parent or adult caretaker, and only 3.4% involved a sibling or another child.

The researchers conclude that “greater efforts are needed to ensure safety in the design and manufacture of these products, ensure their proper usage in the home, and increase awareness of their potential dangers to young children.”

Tags: children, consumer affairs, safety, parenting

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