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8 dos and don'ts for keeping children safe in high chairs

8 dos and don'ts for keeping children safe in high chairs

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Baby high chair

While they are an integral part of having young children, high chairs are often overlooked as potentially dangerous pieces of furniture.

Most children will try to climb out of a high chair at some point in their development, and most succeed in some capacity. To make matters worse, most kids do not jump feet first.

Injuries from a high chair are from falling and can include head, neck and facial injuries such as concussions, bruises, cuts and broken or sprained arms or wrists.

There are several ways to ensure your little one stays safe as he or she eats.

• Make sure the chair is sturdy and won’t tip over. Little ones often rock side to side or back and forth, and this may send the chair toppling if it isn’t on a strong base. This is especially true with older high chairs.

• Always use the safety straps. It’s important to buckle both the shoulder and groin straps to prevent your child from sliding down and out. Even if the chair has a leg partition under the tray, a child can still slip partway or all the way out.

• If borrowing or purchasing a used high chair, make sure all the straps are in good working order and aren’t frayed. Double check the buckles to make sure they work and don’t have any sharp, broken edges.

• Have someone in the room when your child is in the high chair. Having a set of eyes on the child as he or she eats allows you to watch for choking hazards, control food throwing, and ensure the child doesn’t attempt a jail break by testing those straps or attempt to stand up. Remember, our kids may be small and cute but they are smart and eventually will figure out how to unbuckle themselves.

• Never let your child stand in a high chair. Young children have poor balance on the ground, so an uneven high chair can spell disaster. It’s also a good habit for when your child is out of a high chair and in a regular chair in school or restaurants.

• Do not set the chair near a counter or table. A child may be able to push off hard enough to topple the chair over, particularly during a tantrum.

• Keep the high chair area clear for reaching little hands. Avoid having these items within reach: table cloths, placemats, sharp objects/silverware and hot food or liquids.

• Ensure collapsible high chairs are in a fully locked position before placing a child inside. This will prevent the chair from collapsing and fingers from being pinched.

A chair that hooks to a table is a good substitute, but it should not be the default. Make sure the table is heavy enough to support the weight of the child and won’t tip over. Check to make sure your child’s feet aren’t near a table leg, as he or she may push hard enough against it to dislodge the chair and fall off the table.

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To learn more about Boys Town Pediatrics, click here.

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