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Preventing Falls at Home

In the U.S., falls are the most common cause of childhood injury in the home, leading to more than 1.3 million visits to the emergency department each year. Falls can occur anywhere in the home, especially in areas with cluttered floors, low lighting or slippery surfaces.

Preventing Falls at Home

In the U.S., falls are the most common cause of childhood injury in the home, leading to more than 1.3 million visits to the emergency department each year. Falls can occur anywhere in the home, especially in areas with cluttered floors, low lighting or slippery surfaces. Parents and caregivers should take steps to make their homes safer and prevent falls.

FLOORS

  • Keep floors clear of toys and clutter.
  • Wipe up any spills immediately.
  • Make sure carpets and runners are tightly in place.
  • Only use rugs with non-slip backs.
  • Do not use wax to polish floors unless it is non-skid wax.
  • Be aware that wearing just socks or slippers on wood or waxed floors can be very slippery.
  • Keep cords from lamps and phones tucked out of the way so children do not trip over them.

LIGHTING

  • Make sure hallways and stairs are well lit.
  • Place night lights in bathrooms, children’s bedrooms, and dark hallways.
  • Replace burned out light bulbs immediately.
  • Keep flashlights around the house in case of emergencies.

STAIRS

  • Make sure there is a banister or handrail on at least one side of each set of stairs.
  • If infants or toddlers are in the house, install safety gates at the top and bottom of all stairs.
  • Attach the safety gates with hardware to the wall or banister. Do not use pressure mounted gates at the top of stairs.
  • Mount the gate no more than 3 1⁄2 inches from the floor.
  • Never let children play on stairs or railings.
  • Keep the stairs free of clutter.

WINDOWS

  • Never let children play near windows.
  • A window screen alone is not enough to keep a child from falling out of a window.
  • Keep windows locked and use window guards on all upper level windows.
  • Do not place any furniture near windows. Children can climb on the furniture to reach windows they otherwise could not.
  • Use window stops to prevent the window from opening more than 4 inches.

 

Content provided by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s