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Fall Prevention for Young Children

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  • More than one million infants, toddlers, and preschoolers were treated in an emergency room for a fall-related injury in 2011.
  • In 2010, 134 Oklahoma children age 0 to 5 were hospitalized for a fall-related injury.
  • The most common types of falls for infants and young children were from furniture and other falls from one level to another.
  • Young children are independent, curious, and like to climb. They should be supervised at all times and kept off high surfaces to prevent fall injuries.

Prevention

Infants (Less than one year old)

  • Never leave an infant alone on a counter, bed, table, couch, or other high place.
  • Always keep at least one hand on the infant when changing diapers or dressing.
  • An infant carrier should be stable and placed where the child and carrier can’t fall.
  • Lower the crib mattress as the child grows. If the child is climbing out of the crib, consider if it is time to move to a toddler bed.
  • Keep safety straps securely fastened when using a stroller, high chair, swing, carrier, or shopping cart.
  • Use of baby walkers are not recommended. They may tip over or fall down stairs. Walkers are involved in more injuries than any other piece of baby equipment.
  • Don’t let other children hold or carry an infant unless closely watched.

Young Children (1-5 years old)

  • Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs and keep stairs free of clutter.
  • Install window guards - screens keep bugs out, not children in.
  • Keep windows locked when closed.
  • Keep doors to balconies and fire escapes locked.
  • Playground surfaces must be soft material such as wood chips or chipped rubber.
  • Playground equipment should be in good repair and age appropriate.
  • Watch children closely when they are playing on slides, swings, and seesaws.
  • Hold the child’s hand while climbing stairs or riding escalators; teach the child to hold onto handrails to avoid falling.
  • Bicycles should be in good repair and the correct size for the child.
  • Never let your children ride a bicycle without a helmet.
  • If the child is riding on a bicycle with an adult, the child should be in a rear-mounted seat and wearing a helmet.
  • A child with a disability needs more attention and supervision to avoid falls.
  • The safety precautions used at home should also be used at day care.

Internet Resources

Injury Prevention Service, OSDH, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Revised October 2012

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