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.

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.

The Numbers

Falls are the most common cause of non-fatal injuries to children aged 0 to 19. Each year, almost 2.8 million children are treated in US emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. more Children younger than five represent the age group with the largest proportion of visits—1.2 million emergency room visits each year due to falls.

Falls are also a major cause of head injuries, particularly among babies and toddlers (whose large heads will often hit the ground first and take the impact). Head injuries are associated with the most deaths and severe injuries resulting from falls. more About 100 children die from fall-related injuries each year. Over 60 percent of those are among children younger than 5. more

Rhode Island Numbers

In Rhode Island in 2009, there were 204 reported cases of falls-related traumatic brain injuries (TBI) among children younger than 1 year old and 582 reported cases of falls-related TBI among children 1 through 5 years old. Most injuries were from falls from the bed, falls from one level to another, or falls from striking objects or people.

How Falls Happen

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 are also often lack experience, coordination, and judgment about potentially dangerous situations. They are more at risk of falling from windows, furniture, and playground equipment.

What You Can Do

The good news is that you, as a parent or caregiver, can play a major role in preventing serious falls. more