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Babies Injured in Car Seats Used Outside of Cars
Date:10/20/2009

Study found more than 43,000 emergency-room visits during five-year period

TUESDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Infant car seats have saved countless young lives, but those same seats are also responsible for injuring thousands of youngsters when improperly used outside a vehicle, a new study found.

More than 43,000 infants in the United States required emergency room care between 2003 and 2007 after falling in car seats that were improperly placed on tables, counters and other elevated surfaces. Accidents were even reported after seats rolled over on soft surfaces, such as beds and sofas, the study discovered.

"In our hospital, we saw some fractures caused by these falls, and decided it was probably a wider problem," said study author Dr. Shital Parikh, a pediatric orthopaedist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "These injuries are not common compared with some other causes, but they are significant enough to take notice."

Parikh was to present the research Monday at the American Academy of Pediatrics' annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Accidents occur when unrestrained babies, especially those older than 2 months, rock and fidget inside an unattended seat, causing the device to tip over or fall, said Dr. Peter Richel, chief of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital Center, in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

According to Parikh, the most common injuries during the five-year period were to the head, followed by fractures and dislocations. Three babies died.

The study comes two months after another study advised parents to remove their children from infant car seats after a car trip because the seats can compress the chest and lower levels of oxygen.

However, experts all agree that car seats are critical inside a vehicle to protect children from injury in a collision, just like seatbelt restraints protect adults.

In Parikh's study, 62 percent of the accide
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