Falls - Identifying High-Risk Situations
Certain age groups among children are more prone to certain types of falls. For example, infants are more likely to fall from furniture, while toddlers are more likely to fall from windows. Older children sustain more fall-related injuries from playground equipment.
Babies who are left unsupervised on top of beds, changing tables, and even couches, can roll off unexpectedly.
Young children are naturally curious and will explore an open window. Windows that are open just five inches pose a danger to children under the age of 10. Falls from windows tend to be the most severe and/or fatal. In addition, even a closed window can be dangerous if the child can get near it - falling through glass can cause serious and often fatal injuries.
Infants and toddlers do not realize the danger of falling down stairs. In addition, older children who are running up and down stairs can trip and injure themselves. Clutter on stairs poses an increased risk of falling.
Area rugs that are not secure, especially on bare floors, can cause a child to fall. Mats that are not slip-resistant and tubs without slip-resistant stickers can increase the risk of falling.
Although playgrounds can provide children with exercise and an enjoyment of the outdoors, they also pose safety hazards. Faulty playground equipment, not using proper equipment for different sporting activities, and careless behavior leads to an estimated 15 child fatalities ages 14 and under each year.
A warning about baby walkers:
Baby walker-related injuries kill two children a year. In 2003 alone, an estimated 3,200 children were treated for baby-walker related injuries. Consider these statistics:
Most children that sustain injuries from baby walkers are between the ages of 5 and 15 months.
Most baby walker-related injuries are caused by falls down stairs (76 percent) or tipping over (12 percent).
In addition to increasing the risk of falls down stairs, baby walkers give small children access to hot substances on tables and stoves, as well as poisonous substances. Based on these alarming statistics, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association for Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI) have called for a ban of baby walkers.