Falls (Children)

Falling is a normal part of development as children walk, climb, run, jump, play and explore their environment. While most falls in children don’t cause serious injury, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospital visits for babies and children. Falls can be prevented.

Protecting babies:

  • Be by their side. Always be at your baby’s side — never leave them alone on a raised surface. If you need to step away, even for a moment, take them with you or move them to a safe place such as their crib, cradle, bassinet or playpen.
  • Be hands-on. Keep one hand on your baby when they’re on any high surface, such as a change table, bed or counter, even if they’re in a safety strap.
  • Keep car seats and infant chairs off raised surfaces like furniture, counters or dryers. Place car seats, baby chairs and bassinets on the floor — not on a counter, bed or sofa.
  • Use safety straps. Use the safety straps in your baby’s stroller, high chair, change table, car seat, baby seat and baby swing as well as in shopping carts.

Protecting toddlers and young children:

Toddlers and young children like to explore, climb, walk, run and dance. These activities put them at risk for falls and injuries. You can help prevent injuries in the following ways:

  • Install sturdy, mounted stair gates at the top and bottom of each stairwell before your baby starts to crawl. At the top of the stairs, use a gate that is permanently attached to the wall or banister. It’s not recommended to use gates that stay in place using pressure (pressure gates) at the top of stairs. Your baby’s weight could cause a pressure gate to fall over if they lean on it. Use pressure-mounted gates only at the bottom of stairs — never at the top.
  • Install and use window safety devices on all windows higher than ground level. These windows should not open more than 10 cm (4 inches). Choose window safety latches that an adult can quickly open in an emergency.
  • Move furniture away from windows. This includes your child’s crib, bed and other furniture such as dressers.
  • Secure furniture. Make sure furniture like TVs, dressers and bookcases are secured to the wall.
  • Move your baby’s crib mattress to its lowest position once your baby can sit.
  • Move your toddler from a crib to a bed before they’re tall enough to climb over the crib rails when the mattress is at its lowest height.
  • Do not use bunk beds until your child is at least six years old.
  • Keep furniture off balconies so your child cannot climb on them and fall over the railings.

As your child grows keep thinking ahead for new falling hazards that your child may encounter, such as:

  • Falling off the bed. Install bed rail guards to help prevent falls. Make sure openings in rails are small enough to prevent a child from getting trapped, which can lead to choking or suffocating.
  • Playground equipment, especially slides and monkey bars that don’t have a soft surface beneath the equipment.
  • Trampolines. Even with constant adult supervision and protective netting, many children are injured on them. Constant supervision is recommended.
  • Tricycles and Bicycles. Ensure that it is an appropriately sized for the child, ensure that your child wears a helmet, and watch where your child rides. Steep downhill slopes can make your child lose control and fall.

Services related to this information:

811 HealthLine (Newfoundland & Labrador) – Call 811 or 1-888-709-2929 / TTY 1-888-709-3555

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Last updated: 2021-10-01