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Ways to Reduce Your Young Child's Risk of Falls

 

Toddlers and young children like to explore, climb, walk, run, and dance. These activities put them at risk for falls and injuries. You can help prevent accidents in the following ways:

  • Lock doors to all dangerous areas. Keep keys out of your child's sight and reach.
  • Use sliding gates at both ends of stairways. Avoid accordion-style gates because a child's head could get caught in the gate. Look for a gate with openings no bigger than 2.3 in. (5.8 cm).
  • Keep stairways clean and safe. Carpeting on stairs should be in good repair; uncarpeted stairs should be kept clean but not slick. Train your child to hold onto the rail and to walk carefully down each step one at a time. If you have pets, teach your child to keep away from them while on stairs. Teach pets to wait until stairs are clear before using them.
  • Attach double-sided tape, foam backing, or a rubber pad to throw rugs to secure them on flooring.
  • Watch your toddler when he or she is outside. Uneven grass, sloping lawns, and hills can make walking difficult.
  • Install window guards. Also, do not place furniture, including chairs, close to windows. Make sure windows are closed and locked securely when children are present.
  • Do not allow your child to climb on high furniture.

Also, keep thinking ahead for new falling hazards your child may encounter, such as:

  • Playground equipment, especially slides and monkey bars. Avoid taking your child to playgrounds that do not have a soft surface beneath the equipment.
  • Tricycles. Only allow your child to ride solid, stable tricycles that are low to the ground. In addition, watch where your child rides; steep downhill slopes can make your child lose control and fall.
  • Falling off the bed. Install bed rail guards to help prevent falls. Many are now available that are easy to attach and remove. Make sure openings in rails are small enough to prevent a child from getting trapped, which can lead to choking or suffocating.

 

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised November 30, 2010

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