Advancing Children's Health

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Safety spotlight: Fall prevention

Published by , on Dec 19, 2016

In recent months, our emergency room has seen a noticeable increase  in the number of infants and toddlers coming in for injuries related to falling from elevated surfaces like couches, beds, tables and changing tables. Child safety expert Corri Miller-Hobbs compiled these important reminders to keep kids safe this busy holiday season and in the year ahead:

The world is a great adventure for children and hazards are everywhere. Help your child explore, learn and grow, while also protecting them from dangerous falls. Constant supervision is always necessary and it’s never too early to begin using good safety techniques with children (and infants too).  

Do not let children play on high surfaces like tables, couches, beds and other furniture; porches, decks, stairs and balconies; or near windows. If it’s unavoidable, make sure they are supervised by an adult.

Cheerful child playing in robot at homeAlways keep babies and young kids strapped in when using high chairs, infant carriers, swings or strollers. When placing your baby into a carrier, remember to place the carrier on the floor, not on top of a table or other furniture.

When caring for your baby on a changing table or other elevated surface, always stay with them and have your hands on them. 

Shot of an adorable baby girl at home

Be mindful where you use baby walkers. These devices don’t come with safety features that prevent them from rolling down stairs. You can also consider using a stationary activity center instead. Look for one that is on a stable, non-moveable base and place it away from the stairs, hot appliances and window cords.

Use approved safety gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs and attach them to the wall, if possible. Read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels to make sure you have the right gate. Not all gates are safe for use at the top of stairs. 

Be sure to help babies and toddlers learn to crawl, stand and walk safely.

Once toddlers start to pull themselves up to a standing position, the AAP recommends physically showing them how to bend their knees so they can lower themselves to the floor without falling. Click here for more on this and other safety tips for children who are crawling or learning to walk. 

Actively supervise toddlers and young children on and around stairs and hold their hands when they are walking up and down stairs. 

For a safe holiday season for all, please keep in mind that the holidays bring busy schedules, distractions, visits to homes that may not be childproofed, and more opportunities for children to explore and learn. Unfortunately, with so much going on, there’s also an increased risk of children being injured. Always provide supervision and follow the safety tips provided by CHoR, Safe Kids Virginia and the AAP.

Resources:
Safe Kids Worldwide
AAP Healthychildren.org

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