Parents depend on highchairs as safe places for their babies to sit and eat.  Growing numbers of children are getting hurt, however, sometimes severely, while in their highchairs. 

Three-year-old Harper has outgrown a highchair.   About a year ago, however, she was strapped into her highchair seat ready to eat lunch, when her mother, Kelli, turned her back for a second and heard a deafening thud.   Kelli said she looked back and Harper  had flipped over. 

As it turned out, the baby had pushed away from the kitchen island, tipping the entire chair over.   Harper ended up with a hairline fracture on her skull.

"Far and away, the most common mechanism of injury is a fall," said Dr. Gary Smith of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  

Smith and his team analyzed the annual number of highchair-related injuries that required emergency medical care. 

"This was an eight-year study and, over those eight years, the number of highchair-related injuries among young children increased by over 20 percent," said Smith. 

Brain injuries like concussions were the results of most major falls.  The biggest danger is when kids aren't strapped in properly.   

“The important thing is the crotch strap. You want to make sure that this strap is here because it helps keep the child in the chair so they don't slide out from underneath," said Tracy Mehan of Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Another danger is when children push off from other objects, like little Harper did.  

"I never would have thought she could reach that island to push off," said her mother.

It's a good lesson for anyone taking care of a child.