As a parent, you may worry most about your kids when they aren’t with you. But many of the falls that send a million children to the ER each year happen at home.
Plenty of these accidents involve falls from beds, chairs, baby walkers, bouncers, changing tables and high chairs. Some of these injuries are minor cuts and scrapes, but nearly 60 percent involve a bang to the head and 14 percent involve a bone fracture.
Many falls among babies occur when they’re left unattended on a changing table or in a car seat or bouncy seat placed on a raised surface. Falls among kids aged 3 and older are often due to climbing on furniture. Toddlers also try to climb by pulling themselves up using furniture legs, TV stands, tables and dressers.
Guard against these accidents with simple actions like placing safety gates in doorways and at stairs. Use hardware-mounted safety gates, which are more secure than pressure-mounted ones.
Also, set rules about not climbing, playing and jumping on furniture. Don’t leave babies and toddlers unattended in car seats or bouncy seats, and don’t place these seats on counters or tables.
Make sure any pieces of furniture that a child might try to climb on are stable. This is especially important with bedroom dressers. Over the past few years, there have been major recalls of products linked to serious injuries from kids climbing on open drawers. And you may need to bolt bookcases to the wall.
You can’t prevent every mishap, but these steps will help your kids avoid many serious ones.
KidsHealth.org has detailed information on how to protect kids throughout your home.