6 Tips to Prevent Falls
As children begin exploring their surroundings, there are various opportunities for them to get into unsafe situations. They can easily fall off of furniture, down stairs, or out of windows, causing potentially fatal injuries. Here are a few tips to help prevent these falls from occurring.
Never leave a child unattended while they are on top of any furniture.
If a child is on a bed, changing table, couch, or in a crib with the guardrails down, they can easily roll off onto the floor. Choose baby products that meet safety standards and install padding on any sharp corners. Use all of a product’s safety straps and other features. For example, be sure to secure the pad on top of baby changing tables so that when a child moves around, the pad stays secure. High chair safety features should also be utilized at all times.
Be cognizant of the potential dangers of stairs.
Infants and toddlers do not know that falling down the stairs can be harmful to them; if a small child is present, keep a safety gate at the top and the bottom of the stairs so that the child cannot access the potentially dangerous steps. Be careful with the use of accordion gates in large openings because children’s fingers can get caught in them. Older children could also trip and sustain an injury on the staircase. Set a rule to not run up or down the stairs, and keep them clutter-free to avoid a tumble.
Keep children away from windows.
An open window can easily attract a small, curious child; falls from windows tend to be the most severe and potentially fatal. If a window is open, be sure that a child cannot access it. A window that is open a mere five inches can pose as a danger to a child. Move any furniture that a child may climb on away from windows. Do not rely on an insect screen to keep a child from falling from an open window; the force of a child falling toward an insect screen could easily tear the screen or push it entirely from the window, along with the child, so install window guards to keep your little one safe. Closed windows can also be dangerous for children. A fall through glass can cause serious and even fatal injuries to anyone, especially children. Set rules with children before a window-related accident occurs.
Know that falls can happen in everyday areas simply because of flooring hazards.
Rugs and mats around the house should be secured using foam backing, rubber pads, or double-sided tape to keep children from slipping on a loosely placed rug. Slip-resistant mats or stickers can be placed within showers and tubs to avoid falls. If tile or hardwood floors are particularly slick, keep children from running around in that area or secure a rug atop the floor. Keeping the floor clear in areas where children will be playing can also ensure safety.
Always supervise children on playgrounds because of the potential falls.
Be sure that the playground equipment your children play on is safe and age-appropriate. Also, be sure that the playground surface is able to absorb the shock of a fall; for example, playground equipment set on concrete is unsafe. A playground padded with sand or foam flooring reduces the risk of injury if a fall occurs.
Closely monitor children in baby walkers.
Baby walkers can topple over or fall down steps, harming the child that is in or climbing on the walker. That being said, do not allow children to climb on any wheeled equipment. Walkers can give children access to other areas, so be careful when selecting a space in which to allow your child to use one.
Just in case your toddler takes a tumble, make sure you know where to go when minutes matter. CHI St. Luke’s Health emergency centers are always open. Find your nearest location today.