Falls Prevention

Unintentional falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries among children. More than 2.1 million children 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for fall-related injuries in 2007. Eighty-two children ages 14 and under died from falls in 2005. Lack of supervision is associated with 40% of playground injuries.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) (12/17/08). 

Safety basics

Many fall injuries can be prevented with safe play rules. Here are some basic safety tips to keep children safe:

At play

  • Inspect playground equipment to make sure it is age appropriate and in good condition.
  • Play areas should be covered with at least 12 inches of shredded mulch, wood chips, pea gravel, and fine sand or covered with rubber or rubber-like material designed for use under playground materials. Dirt, grass and sand do not provide proper fall protection.
  • Encourage children to take turns on playground equipment.
  • Encourage children to play gently –pushing and roughhousing can lead to falls.
  • Never allow children to wear jackets with drawstrings, jewelry, or scarves around the neck. They can get caught on playground equipment.

In the home

  • Keep stairs clear of toys and other items that could cause someone to trip. Teach children to hold the handrail when on stairs or escalators and always tie their shoelaces to avoid tripping over them
  • Windows opened as little as five inches pose a danger to children under 10. Install window guards with quick release mechanisms that can be opened easily from the inside in case there is a fire.
  • Make sure tall furniture, clocks, televisions, etc. are secured to the wall to prevent falling on children.