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Fall Prevention For Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Falls are a common cause of injury in children. Falls can cause cuts, bruises, head injuries, or broken bones.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your child has fallen and is unconscious.
- Your child has fallen and cannot move a part of his body.
Contact your child's healthcare provider if:
- Your child has fallen and complains of pain or a headache.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Causes of falls among children:
- Infants who are left on changing tables, beds, or sofas can scoot or roll off. Children who are learning to crawl or walk may fall down stairs. Children may also fall down stairs or tip over while they are in a baby walker.
- Toddlers may climb up on dresser drawers and book shelves and fall off. Furniture can also fall on them as they climb. Children may climb furniture to reach a window and then fall out of the window. Children can fall off a shopping cart while they ride in or on the outside of the cart. Children are also more likely to be hurt on backyard play sets if they do not have a safe surface under them.
How to help prevent a fall:
- Do not use baby walkers on wheels. There are activity centers that are like baby walkers, but do not have wheels. They allow children to bounce and rotate around while they stay in place.
- Do not leave your child alone on or in furniture. Use safety belts on changing tables and put crib guardrails up while your infant is in the crib. Move cribs and other furniture away from windows to prevent children from climbing on them to reach the window.
- Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs. Make sure the gates fit tightly. Keep the gates closed and locked at all times.
- Avoid unsafe playgrounds or play sets. Avoid playgrounds that have asphalt, concrete, grass, or hard soil under the equipment. Choose a playground that is the appropriate for your child's age. Use shredded rubber, wood chips, mulch, or sand underneath your play set at home. These materials should be at least 9 inches deep and extend 6 feet around the equipment. Watch your child at all times.
- Secure windows. Place locks on the windows that are not emergency exits. Window locks prevent the window from opening more than 4 inches. Place window guards on windows that are above the first floor. If you keep a window open during the summer months, make sure your child cannot reach the window. A screen will not stop your child from falling out a window.
Falls among children with disabilities:
Children with a medical condition that decreases their movement may have a higher risk of falling from a bed or other surface. Children can fall while they are being moved or their position is being changed. Children in wheelchairs can fall from or tip over their wheelchair. Wheelchairs that are not adjusted well or have a knapsack on the back can also cause falls. Support for wheelchair seats such as seat belts, seat angles, and custom molding may stop wheelchairs from tipping. Check your child's wheelchair or other equipment to make sure they are safe to use.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.