An 11-month-old baby died Tuesday morning at the Hospital Nacional de Niños (HNN) – Children’s Hospital in San Jose – after falling into a ditch when moving in a baby walker or “andaderas” in Spanish.
Olga Arguedas, director of the children’s medical center, confirmed the death of the child, who suffered a blow to the head and cardiac arrest that caused her death.
According to judicial authorities, apparently, in an oversight by the mother the little girl left the house and, while on the sidewalk, the mishap occurred.
The child was initially taken to the Tomás Casa Hospital, in Ciudad Cortés, in Osa, Puntarenas. After she was stabilized, the transfer was made by air to the San Jose hospital.
“In Ciudad Cortés the child was in an unconscious state and in cardiac arrest for eight minutes. We were alerted and doctors from the Trauma Unit received, she was in a delicate condition,” explained Dr. German Guerrero Quesada, surgeon of the Trauma Unit of the HNN.
The good doctor said she was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and where death occurred shortly after her arrival due to the consequences of cardiorespiratory arrest.
The doctor added that the way in which the accident occurred is confusing, since the victim’s mother was in the bathroom at the time of the accident.
“When the mother came out of the bathroom, the other siblings told her the baby fell. The little girl is taken out of the gutter and that is when she goes into cardiac arrest. We do not know if at that moment she had a seizure or a bronchial aspiration,” the doctor added.
The sale of baby walkers — devices designed to give babies mobility while they’re learning to walk — has been prohibited in Costa Rica since September 2017, when an executive decree was published, due to their direct relationship with accidents in the home, in addition to the negative effect on the development of babies.
A study carried out by HNN specialists revealed that between 2010 and 2016, 461 children were treated for accidents related to the use of baby walkers.
However, the devices can be used in strictlyy limited cases under the recommendation of a specialist. In these circumstances, they can only be purchased in pharmacies or stores selling medical or orthopedic equipment.
Guerrero noted that the decree penalizes retailers that sell baby walkers and not those who have it, so it is the responsibility of parents or guardians not to use them.
“It is more than proven that the walkers are harmful to children, even with an adult nearby you can not anticipate a problem.
“We believe that minors are exposed to burns, poisonings or falls, very difficult to anticipate, and has also shown a delay in motor skills,” said the surgeon.
The doctor made a call to the population to denounce cases of retailers selling walkers.
For its part, the Ministry of Health reiterated the prohibition of baby walkers and to also denounce retailers selling them.
“It is important to make a call to the population not to use walkers, firstly accidents can endanger the integrity of children and also avoid problems with their motor skill development progress, in which the child must learn to crawl, walk on their own ” said Eugenio Androvetto, director of Protection of the Human Environment.