Falls Prevention Tips for Children and Teens
Children ages 14 and under account for one of every three fall-related visits to hospital emergency departments. Over half of all nonfatal injuries to children are related to falls. The majority of these falls are from ordinary, everyday items such as furniture, stairs, and baby walkers. Windows, shopping carts and playground equipment can also be dangerous places for children.
YOU CAN PREVENT FALLS!
Stairs and windows. Remember, twice the height of the victim equals a serious injury.
Playground and play structures
- Tip 1: Parents, grandparents and friends of families with children — conduct a home fall hazard hunt and improve dangerous situations for your children. Add stair guards where appropriate.
- Tip 2: Add protective window guards in second-story bedrooms. Most window fall-related deaths occur during spring and summer months. Children falling from windows are most likely to be male, younger than age 3, and playing unsupervised at the time of the fall.
- Tip 3: Take special care to protect children who live in apartments from stair and window falls. That's where the highest number of window fall incidences occur – five times more than children living in other types of residences.
- Tip 1: Always supervise children when they are using playground equipment.
- Tip 2: Provide soft landing spots for playgrounds. Use organic or inorganic loose-fill surfacing such as wood mulch or chips, or sand, to a depth of 12 inches. Protective surfacing under and around playground equipment can prevent and reduce the severity of fall-related injuries.
- Tip 3: Be aware of the "fall zone" around each piece of equipment where a child may fall or exit from the equipment. Keep it safe.
- Tip 4: Install secure footings to improve stability. Anchor playground equipment to the ground and place it below the play surface to reduce tripping hazards.
Children may suffer cuts, bruises, fractures, concussions and internal injuries when they jump or fall from shopping carts. Carts have a high center of gravity and narrow wheelbase, making them top heavy when loaded, and easy to tip over. When children stand up in the cart, they greatly increase their chance of falling or tipping the cart over.
Fall prevention tips provided by PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and the Vancouver Fire Department.
- Tip 1: Always stay close to the shopping cart to monitor your child.
- Tip 2: Use safety belts when available to restrain your child in cart seats.
- Tip 3: Never let a child stand up in the cart
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