Fall prevention tips for children of all ages
Randall Burd, MD, PhD, a pediatric surgeon and Chief of the Division of Emergency Trauma and Burn Surgery at Children’s National Hospital shares tips to minimize your child’s risk of falling by taking into account your child’s age and activities, and better understanding these common types of falls.
Infant falls from being dropped
Infants experience the greatest fall risk when being carried or supported by others, and are at high risk from head bleeds and injury when dropped. Fall prevention for babies relies mainly on strategies related to those holding them. When holding your baby, avoid holding other items such as heavy bags. Always be aware of your surroundings, pay attention to your footing and use hand railings when walking on stairs.
With many children becoming homebound because of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals are seeing an increase in accidental falls from windows. These types of falls can lead to serious injury or even death. Ensure that windows in the home have screens in place. Windows should also be secured with childproof window stops or window guards that can be easily opened by adults in case of fire. Avoid placing furniture under or near windows that children can climb. Try whenever possible to keep your child away from windows, particularly when on the second floor or higher.
Shopping cart falls
Trips to the supermarket can also result in falls, particularly from shopping carts. These falls can happen very quickly while the parent is preoccupied. Your child should not be free to play in the shopping cart and should be properly secured in the cart with a belt or tie. Whenever possible, try to keep your child in view while they are in a shopping cart.
Falls from playground equipment are a top reason for accidental falls in children between 3 and 12 years old. When taking your child to the playground, make sure to look at the type of ground surface and check for any faulty or damaged equipment. If possible, try to select playgrounds with softer surfaces rather than concrete surfaces for playtime activities.
When it comes to sports, make sure your child wears appropriate, properly-fitting equipment and encourage them to always ‘play by the rules.’ Make sure your child wears a helmet for activities like bike riding or rollerblading to prevent head injury.
Falls from slipping, tripping and stumbling are common in adolescents. To reduce your teen’s risk of falling, teach them the importance of being conscious of their environment and minimizing cell phone usage while walking and moving.
Empower your child to get help
(Content Courtesy: https://riseandshine.childrensnational.org/fall-prevention-tips-for-children-of-all-ages/)