Falls

Falls

Falls

Definition: A fall is an unplanned and sudden descent to the ground, the floor, or a lower level that may result in injury.  Falls in children are often due to the presence of external hazards, such as stairs, open windows, or playground equipment, and to children’s frequent inability to accurately assess risks, curiosity and propensity for risk-taking, and lack of fully developed motor skills and coordination.

Magnitude of the Problem: Falls are the leading cause of hospitalized injury in the U.S. for children ages 0 to 14. In 2012, nearly 34,000 children ages 0 to 14 were hospitalized for unintentional falls (National Inpatient Sample, 2012, Healthcare Utilization Project, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Protect the Ones You Love campaign, falls are the leading cause of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) for children ages 0 to 4.

Prevention: Strategies to protect children from fall-related injuries include:

  • Installing safety gates on stairs and guards on windows to prevent falls by young children;
  • Providing a soft landing surface below playground equipment;
  • Using the proper safety equipment, such as knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and helmets, while playing sports;
  • Supervising children near fall hazards; and
  • Removing fall hazards whenever possible.
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