Fall Prevention for Babies & Toddlers
As children start exploring their environment and learning new skills such as walking, jumping and climbing, falls tend to happen. Most injuries from falls are minor (i.e. cuts, bruises), but some falls go beyond this and can cause severe injury requiring medical attention.
Injuries from falls continue to be the leading cause of hospitalization in children 0-9 years of age. Babies and toddlers have large heads in proportion to their bodies, which makes them more prone to falls. That’s why it is important to know where fall risks might be and make changes to the environment or the way we do things.
Not all falls can be prevented, but there are ways to protect children by decreasing the chance of a fall and the likelihood of an injury. Knowing the most common places that falls occur is a great starting point.
• Falls from furniture – secure all furniture, keep one hand
on baby at all times while on a change table, move the crib mattress to the lowest level once your baby can sit up, place car seats on the floor not on furniture and remind children that beds are not safe places to play.
• Falls from stairs – use permanently mounted baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs and remove once the child is 2 years old or their chin reaches the top of the gate, do not leave anything on the stairs.
• Same level falls – remove socks or use non slip socks in the house, keep floors clear of clutter and/or toys.
• Falls from windows – window screens do not prevent falls, install window guards on all windows above the 1st floor, move furniture away from windows, lock balcony doors and keep children away from railings.
Of course, supervision is by far the best way to keep children safe from falls whether you are at home or out to play.
For more information about fall prevention in children 0-6 years old, go to www.fallpreventionmonth.ca