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Health Library : Safety and Injury Prevention

 

Falls--Identifying High-Risk Situations

Certain age groups among children are more prone to certain types of falls. For example, infants are more likely to fall from furniture, while toddlers are more likely to fall from windows. Older children sustain more fall-related injuries from playground equipment.

  • Furniture
    Babies who are left unsupervised on top of beds, changing tables, and even couches, can roll off unexpectedly.
  • Windows
    Young children are naturally curious and will explore an open window. Screens do not prevent falls. Windows that are open just five inches pose a danger to children under the age of 10. Falls from windows tend to be the most severe and/or fatal. In addition, even a closed window can be dangerous if the child can get near it. Falling through glass can cause serious and often fatal injuries.
  • Stairs
    Infants and toddlers do not realize the danger of falling down stairs. In addition, older children who are running up and down stairs can trip and injure themselves. Clutter on stairs poses an increased risk of falling.
  • Floor surfaces
    Area rugs that are not secure, especially on bare floors, can cause a child to fall. Mats that are not slip-resistant and tubs without slip-resistant stickers can increase the risk of falling.
  • Playgrounds
    Although playgrounds can provide children with exercise and an enjoyment of the outdoors, they also pose safety hazards. Faulty playground equipment, not using proper equipment for different sporting activities, and careless behavior lead to many emergency room visits for playground-related injuries each year. However, falls are the most common cause of playground injury accounting for about 80 percent of all playground-related injuries.

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