A new study sheds light on just how dangerous strollers and carriers can be if not used properly.

baby sitting up in stroller
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When you strap your child into a stroller or baby carrier, you assume she's safe, right? I know I do! But an alarming new study out of Nationwide Children's Hospital finds two children suffer a stroller or baby carrier-related injury every hour! And many of the injuries are quite serious.

Consider that most children who get hurt in these types of accidents are under the age of 1 and suffer a fall, or tip out of their supposedly-safe transport gear. In fact, researchers say that over the 21-year study period, more than 360,000 children under the age of 5 were treated in the ER for stroller and carrier-related injuries. Also during that time period, stroller-related traumatic brain injuries more than doubled—from just over 19 percent in 1990 to nearly 42 percent in 2010—while carrier-related head injuries tripled.

"The majority of injuries we saw were head injuries, which is scary considering the fact that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and concussions in young children may have long-term consequences on cognitive development," said Kristi Roberts, MS, MPH, study author and research associate in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

But as Roberts explained to Parents.com, "It is likely that increased awareness of [TBI and] concussion resulted in more conservative diagnoses of head injuries that previously may have been diagnosed as a less severe injury rather than a true increase in incidence."

She offers these tips for ensuring baby rides safely in a stroller or carrier:

  • First and foremost, always follow the manufacturer's guidelines and check for recalls.
  • Resist the urge to overload your stroller with other stuff.
  • Don't let a little sibling push.
  • Make sure that travel systems with carriers are properly locked in.

I also recommend never walking away from your baby while he or she is in the stroller; it's something I've done, just for a second, to maybe grab an item in a store, or run back into the house for my keys, and in light of this study, I'm realizing this is another opportunity for baby to tip over.

What other stroller safety tips do you live by?

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.