Kids love to run, climb, play and explore. But from the time your child begins to crawl through their school-age years, your child is susceptible to falls and injuries. Falls can cause minor bumps and bruises to more serious injuries requiring immediate medical attention. Therefore, as a parent, it’s important that you learn how you can prevent childhood falls and injuries.
Facts about Falls in Kids
Unintentional falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for U.S. children (0 to 19 years old). Each year, 2.8 million children are in treated in emergency rooms for injuries due to falls. The largest portion of these fall-related E.R. visits are in children younger than 5 years old. While childhood deaths from fall-related injuries have gone down since 1987, in 2013, 61 fall-related deaths occurred in children younger than 15 years old. Boys have a higher incident of fall-related injuries compared to girls. And boys are more than twice as likely as girls to die from fall-related injuries.
Causes of Childhood Falls
How childhood falls happen depends on the age of the child. Infants can roll, kick, push off of, or crawl into things. Toddlers can trip, stumble and fall while learning to walk. In children ages 5 to 9, most injuries happen when they fall on playground equipment from one level to another. Playground equipment falls and falls-related to sports activities are common in kids ages 10 to 14. Older kids also experience falls while playing recreational and school sports. And injuries can occur due to the use of roller skates and in-line skates as well as from skate board use.
Types of Fall-related Injuries
Injuries from childhood falls can range from mild to serious. They can include:
- Bumps, cuts, scrapes, and open wounds
- Sprains and strains
- Concussions to serious brain injuries
The head, neck and face are the body parts most effected by falls in kids – followed by the upper extremities, lower extremities, brain, and torso.
Tips to Prevent Childhood Falls
Every parent wants to keep their child safe, and many falls can be prevented. Here are some things you can do to protect your child from injuries due to falls:
- Supervise infants and young children at all times when they’re exposed to fall hazards such as while laying on a bed or changing table, near stairs, or on playground equipment.
- Avoid using baby walkers that may fall over during use. Use stationary activity centers instead.
- Never allow young children to play alone on a fire escape, high porch or balcony.
- Install window guards, screens and gates to prevent unintentional falls. Follow manufacturer instructions for correct installation. Keep windows and doors locked.
- Always strap babies and young children into high chairs, changing tables, infant carriers, car seats, strollers, swings, and shopping carts.
- Secure TVs and heavy furniture to prevent them from tipping over on a child.
- Cover sharp furniture and fireplace corners with corner or edge bumpers.
- Use rugs that have rubber padding on the bottom to prevent sliding.
- Ensure stairs have handrails on both sides from top to bottom. Keep clutter off of stairs. Make sure stairs are well-lit.
- Use night lights in your child’s bedroom, bathroom and hallways to prevent falls at night.
- Always carry your child or hold their hand when riding on escalators. Don’t take strollers on escalators. Watch for dangling clothing that can get caught in escalators.
- Only have your child play on playgrounds with shock-absorbing surfaces like rubber, synthetic turf, sand, wood chips or mulch. If your child falls, their landing will be more cushioned than falls on asphalt, concrete, grass or dirt.
- Teach your child to walk cautiously on wet, dark and paved areas in cold temperatures.
- Make sure your child wears a helmet when biking, skating, and using skateboards or scooters.
- Ensure your child wears protective gear while playing sports such as mouth guards, helmets, wrist guards, and knee and elbow pads.
While you’re not going to be able to prevent every fall your child takes, by following these tips, you can prevent more serious injuries from happening due to falls.
Improve Your Child’s Balance with LittleSTEPS® Foot Orthotics
Kids can hurt themselves in a variety of ways from falls. These minor or major childhood injuries can creep up later in life as pain issues. Kathy Carandang, a certified pedorthist and founder of the WalkEZStore, hurt her left knee badly at Drum Major Camp while a high school senior. When Kathy was in her 30s, she began having trouble with her knee due to this previous childhood injury. Eventually, Kathy needed to have knee scope surgery to correct these issues when she was in her 50s.
Therefore, to prevent childhood injuries from affecting you into your adult years, Kathy recommends the WalkEZStore’s new LittleSTEPS® foot orthotics system. This foot orthotic system is designed to have your child walk biomechanically better, so they can develop stronger muscles and better alignment before the growth plates set in their legs and feet. The LittleSTEPS® system are pre-fabricated foot orthoses specifically designed for kids. LittleSTEPS® foot orthotics can help your child with balance and coordination to possibly prevent some types of falls.
The LittleSTEPS® foot orthotics come in sizes ranging from a toddler 5 through youth/adult size 8.5. For more information, contact Kathy Carandang or schedule an appointment for your child by clicking this link.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Cover photo credit: 123RF / Wavebreak Media Ltd.