Protect your child from falls

Published in Pediatrics, For the Health of It Author: Ulrika Wigert,MD

London Bridges falling down . . . Down will come baby cradle and all . . . Jack fell down and broke his crown. See a pattern in these old nursery rhymes?

Falls are the leading cause of childhood injuries. Many people associate falls with playgrounds, but most happen at home. Kids can tumble off changing tables. They also can fall out of infant seats, shopping carts and windows, which results in serious injuries. About 8,000 children are treated daily in emergency rooms for falls, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every day, about 14 children will be seriously injured from falling out of a window.

Screens keep insects out but they don’t keep children in. Be sure that upstairs windows are closed unless they are opened from the top down. Avoid opening windows that children can reach. Never place climbable furniture near windows. Be sure to set clear rules and let children know they are not allowed to play near windows or patio doors. Commercial window guards also are available to protect children from falls.

Here are some additional tips to protect your child from falls:

  • Always ensure your child has adult supervision.
  • Make your child is buckled or strapped into bouncy seats, car seats and carriers.
  • Don’t put bouncy seats or car seats on countertops, tables or appliances.
  • Keep one hand on your baby when he/she is on the changing table or couch.
  • Use baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
  • Don’t let your child stand in shopping carts.

Children with a serious or life-threatening injury from a fall should receive immediate medical attention. Children who fall but do not appear to be injured should be closely monitored. Those who are not behaving normally should be seen by a health care provider right away.