Caution! Child may fall from diaper changing table! Risk of head injury is high and hospital stay may be required
Diaper changing tables are necessary for changing baby diapers while on the go. Large commercial facilities often have diaper changing tables in restrooms and baby rooms. It has been reported that some children fell from diaper changing tables and got injured. Some time ago, NCAC issued an alert on this problem1 and relevant organizations made efforts aimed at preventing children from such falling accidents.2
The Medical Facilities Network3 received 58 accident reports4 in about 9 years since December 2010 that children fell from diaper changing tables in public spaces (data registered through December 31, 2019). Among the 58 cases, cases of head injuries amounted to 41 cases (71%), 8 cases of which required hospital stay.
NCAC has analyzed the accident reports received by the Medical Facilities Network and has conducted an online questionnaire survey to find out how the products are used. Based on the findings, NCAC would like to share information on this issue and urge relevant organizations to take measures.
- 1 "Beware of falling from foldable diaper changing tables!" (released on October 5, 2007)
- 2 Japanese government agencies requested building managers to display precautions for using diaper changing tables and to carry out safety checks, releasing the following documents: "Prevention of falling from diaper changing tables in public spaces (request)" by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on July 25, 2007 and "Prevention of falling from diaper changing tables" by the Consumer Affairs Agency on December 21, 2010.
- 3 The Medical Facilities Network is a joint project by the Consumer Affairs Agency and NCAC which started operating from December 2010. The network collects accident reports on people receiving treatment at medical facilities after suffering life-threatening or bodily injuries in their daily lives.
- 4 Data received from December 2010 through December 31 in 2019. The above inquiries were categorized and counted for this report.
Summary of the accident reports from the Medical Facilities Network
- The Medical Facilities Network received 58 accident reports informing that children aged three years or younger fell from diaper changing tables in public spaces.
- Infants capable of rolling over in bed and pulling to stand begin to be prone to falling from diaper changing tables.
- The most common injured part was the head, which accounted for 71% of all the cases. Nine children required hospital stay. Of these, 8 children got injured in the head.
- When I was trying to take something from my bag, my child fell from the diaper changing table. She was diagnosed as fracture of parietal and occipital bones. She stayed hospital for 6 days.
- (girl aged 4 months)
- When I was washing my hands, my child stood up on the diaper changing table and fell from it. After being diagnosed as skull fracture and acute extradural hematoma, he stayed hospital for 5 days.
- (boy aged 1 year and 8 months)
- My baby fell from the diaper changing table when I was helping another child in the restroom. He was diagnosed as parietal bone fracture, acute extradural hematoma and scalp hematoma. He stayed hospital for 9 days
- (boy aged 8 months)
- When I was disposing of used diapers, my child fell from the diaper changing table and bruised her head.
- (girl aged 7 months)
User questionnaire survey results
NCAC has conducted an online questionnaire survey among 1,000 consumers having children aged 3 years or younger and experience of using diaper changing tables in public spaces while on the go.
Incidents where children fell or nearly fell from diaper changing tables (n=1,000)
- Among 1,000 respondents, 46 caregivers encountered that children fell from diaper changing tables, and 334 caregivers encountered that children nearly fell from diaper changing tables. The total ratio of them account for 38%.
Situation where children fell or nearly fell from diaper changing tables (n=380)
- Diaper changing tables are often installed in multi-purpose restrooms. They are mostly foldable.
- 74% of caregivers didn't use the attached safety belt.
- 86% of caregivers moved away or looked away from children. 58% of them replied that such unattended time was between 1 to 3 seconds.
- When children fell or nearly fell from diaper changing tables, 70% of caregivers were taking out something from their bags or disposing of used diapers.
Things or surroundings that respondents would like to have for convenience or safety (n=1,000)
- Barriers and belts to prevent children from falling, wider space for a child to lie, baggage compartment and trash can next to the diaper changing table
Advice for consumers
- It was found that a child might move and fall from a diaper changing table even within 1 to 3 seconds while taking something out of a bag or disposing of used diapers. Before using a diaper changing table, caregivers are recommended to make necessary preparations. Decluttering and disposing of trashes should be done after picking up a baby. The attached safety belt should be used to prevent a child from falling.
- If a child falls from a diaper changing table, it is highly likely that the child suffers from head injury. In case of falling and hitting the head, take the child to hospital.
Request to businesses
- It has been reported that some children fell from diaper changing tables. NCAC requests manufacturers to develop and promote safer diaper changing tables. NCAC also requests manufacturers to further raise consumer awareness of falling risks and safety precautions for using the products.
Request to the government
It has been reported that some children fell from diaper changing tables. Therefore, NCAC would like to request the followings.
- NCAC request the government to give proper instruction to the manufacturers so that they develop and promote safer diaper changing tables and further raise consumer awareness of falling risks and safety precautions for using the products.
- Questionnaire results show that 86% of caregivers moved or looked away from children, and 58% of them did so for only 1 to 3 seconds. NCAC requests the government to urge building managers to improve facility conditions so that caregivers can change baby diapers safely without moving or looking away from children.
- NCAC requests the government to further raise consumer awareness of falling risks and safety precautions for using the products.
Video: Be careful for children not to fall from diaper changing tables!
provided by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology