Childhood Falls

Falling is a natural part of childhood as children learn new skills, test their limits, and explore things around them. Most falls are harmless. However, some falls can result in serious injury, including open wounds, fractures, broken bones, or even brain injury. more

The cause of childhood falls varies by age. As infants begin to roll, kick, and push against things and start to crawling, standing, and even taking their first steps, they are at high risk for falls related to furniture, stairs, and baby walkers. Infants who are left on changing tables, beds, or sofas can roll off. Babies who are learning to crawl or walk may fall down stairs. Toddlers and preschoolers are more independent, curious, and likely to climb. While children at this age are learning quickly, they also often lack experience, coordination, and judgment about potentially dangerous situations. They are more at risk of falling from windows, furniture, and playground equipment.

A lot can happen in a split second.

We know you can't watch them every second, but you can make sure they're in a safe place.

What You Should Do to Make your Home Safer

Cribs

  • Keep crib sides up when your baby is in the crib, even if your baby can't yet push up on both hands.
  • Lower the height of the crib mattress when your baby can push up on both hands/all fours. Lower it again when your baby can sit up or pull to stand.
  • Remove toys, bumper pads, mobiles, and other objects from your child's crib.
  • Stop using the crib when the top rails are less than 3/4 of your child's height.
  • If using a used crib, ensure that it has all needed parts and that it works properly.

High chairs and seats

  • Always strap your child in when using a high chair, booster seat, car seat, swing, stroller, shopping cart, or anything else with safety straps.
  • Look for special safety features on high chairs, such as a wide base, wheels that lock, and five-point harness straps.
  • Make sure older children who are not strapped in sit safely in their chairs (no standing, tipping back, etc.)

Beds

  • Do not leave your baby alone on a bed or other piece of furniture (changing table, sofa/couch, counter, table, etc.). She may roll or crawl off unexpectedly (even if she has never rolled or crawled before!)
  • Do not let your child jump on the bed or other furniture.
  • Use a safety rail when your child is moving from a crib to a bed. If using bunk beds, use a safety rail on the top bunk
  • Have your child sleep in a safe, age-appropriate bed. Co-sleeping is not recommended. more

Stairs

  • Use child safety gates at both the top and bottom of the stairs.
    • Use safety gates that meet current safety standards. Gates should have a Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) Certification Seal.
    • When possible, use gates that are mounted to the wall or banister, rather than tension gates. Mounted gates offer the best protection, particularly at the top of the stairs.
    • Do not use accordion-style gates. Your child could get her head caught in them.
    • Keep gates closed and locked in place at all times.
  • Do not use baby walkers on wheels. A child may fall down the stairs or tip over while using the walker. Use a stationary play center with a stable non-moveable base instead.
  • When your child is learning to crawl or walk, teach him how to go down stairs backwards. If he goes down backwards, he can hold on to the stair above him for balance.
  • Actively supervise your toddler on the stairs. Hold your toddler's hand and teach your toddler how to hold the handrail when going up and down stairs.
  • Do not let children run or play on the stairs.
  • Keep stairs well lit and clutter free.

Windows

Falls from windows tend to be the most severe and/or fatal.

  • Install window guards on all windows above the first floor. Make sure they can be opened quickly from the inside in case of a fire.
  • Use window stops so that windows do not open more than four inches. A young child may squeeze through a window opened more than four inches.
  • Do not rely on a window screen to stop a child from falling out of a window. Screens are not strong enough to prevent falls.
  • Open windows without guards or stops from the top only. Be warned, however, that growing children may have enough strength and skill to open the bottom pane.
  • Keep windows locked when they are closed.
  • Move high chairs, cribs, and other furniture that a child could climb on away from windows.