Minn. — When people think of kids and trauma, they often
think about car accidents. "However, in reality, falls
are the leading cause of childhood injury and most of them
happen around the home," says Christopher Moir, M.D.,
pediatric surgeon at Mayo Clinic Children Center, who has
cared for a wide variety of injuries related to falls.
are approximately 8,000 children treated in emergency rooms
for falls every day, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. At Mayo Clinic’s Level 1 Pediatric
Trauma Center, 35 percent of the children cared for in 2014
were the result of a fall.
can happen anywhere but some of the most common mechanisms for
kids’ falls are from playground equipment, off changing
tables, off infant seats placed on high surfaces, from baby
walkers, out of shopping carts and out of windows. When
children fall out of windows, the injuries that result are
more serious than other types of falls.
play. They are active, imaginative and creative and they fall
all the time. That’s what they do," says Dr. Moir.
"But parents need to know how essential it is to never
lose sight of their child while they are young and
offers advice on how to protect children from general falls:
Parental supervision is essential at all times.
Always strap infants into bouncy seats, infant car seats and
bouncy seats and car seats on the floor not on countertops,
tables or laundry appliances.
one hand on babies when they are on the changing table or
Place baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
not allow children to stand up in shopping carts.
sure playground equipment is age appropriate and supervise
children at play.
a high-risk time for children to fall from windows. "It
happens every day. Actually 14 times on average every day a
child will be seriously injured from falling out of a
window," says Dr. Moir.
some important reminders as the weather gets nice and windows
are opened to let in fresh air in:
Screens are intended to keep insects out, not children in. Do
not rely on them as a protective barrier.
windows closed on upper floors. If you do open them, open them
from top down.
open windows that children can’t reach.
all furniture and anything else children can climb away from
and enforce rules that children do not play near windows or
Commercial window guards are available to help prevent falls.
child sustains an injury from a fall, contact a health care
provider. If it is serious or life-threatening, seek immediate
medical attention. If there are no obvious injuries, Dr. Moir
suggests that parents watch the child, and if the child is not
acting like himself after a fall, seek medical treatment