UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Baby walker injury, disability, and death in a high-income middle eastern country, as reported by siblings Barss, Peter; Grivna, Michal; Al-Hanaee, Amna; Al-Dhahab, Ayesha; Al-Kaabi, Fatima; Al-Muhairi, Shamma

Abstract

Background: Baby walkers (BWs) are frequent causes of infant injuries. Little research is reported from the Middle East and few population-based studies anywhere. Methods: Using multistage random sampling in a city of the United Arab Emirates, 4 of 8 female Arab government high schools and 3 final-year classes each from science and arts tracks were selected. Structured self-administered questionnaires assessed prevalence, frequency, severity, and external causes of BW incidents and injuries, and residential hazards. Results: Response was 100 %, 696 students, 55 % (n = 385) Emirati citizens. 87 % (n = 605) of families used/had used BWs. Among 646 injuries were 118 ER (emergency) visits, 42 hospitalizations, 11 disabilities, and 3 deaths. Average risk was 1 incident/user, 1 injury/4 users, 1 ER visit/20, 1 hospitalization/55, 1 disability/200, 1 death/1000. Odds ratios for >1:1 floor levels were 2.3 (95 % confidence interval: 1.2, 4.3) for hospitalization, 16.8 (95 % CI: 2.1, 132.5) disability. Incidents included hitting objects 48 % (n = 1322), overturning 23 % (n = 632), accessing hazardous objects 17 % (n = 473), and falling down stairs 11 % (n = 300); 1 % (n = 32) fell into swimming pools. In 49 % (n = 297/605) of user families, ≥1 child had been injured. Conclusions: Despite causing many injuries including disabilities and fatalities, BWs were used by nearly all families. Governments should consider Canada’s lead in prohibiting importation, sales, and advertising of BWs.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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