Fall Prevention

Falls in the home account for one-third of emergency department visits. At Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, 29 percent of the injured children admitted to the hospital sustained injuries from falls. According to the CDC, in 2014, falls were the leading cause of traumatic brain injury. In that year, nearly half of all traumatic brain injury-related emergency department visits of children 0 to 17 were caused by falls. Practice the following guidelines for you and your children:

Safety Tips

General Safety

  • Schedule routine appointments for physical, eye and ear exams.
  • Ask your pediatrician or pharmacist about drug interactions and potential side effects (like dizziness) for prescription or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Light your home adequately, and use the highest watt bulbs recommended for lamps and fixtures.
  • Turn on a light or use a flashlight when you get out of bed at night.
  • Install easy-to-grab handrails in tubs, showers and near toilets.
  • Install handrails on both sides of the stairs.
  • Use rubber mats or non-skid strips in the tub or shower.
  • Use a shower seat in the tub or shower if needed.
  • Wear low-heeled, non-skid shoes. Always have shoelaces tied properly.
  • Don’t use throw rugs.
  • Pick up toys.
  • Keep items used most often in easy-to-reach locations.
  • Don’t carry items that are too heavy since they can force you off balance.
  • Close supervision of infants and children will prevent most falls.
  • Keep babies and young kids strapped in when using high chairs, infant carriers, swings, or strollers.
  • Place baby carriers on the floor, not on top of a table or other furniture.
  • Visit playground with shock-absorbing surfaces such as rubber, synthetic turf, sand, pea gravel, wood chips, or mulch. These provides more cushion than asphalt, concrete, grass, or dirt.

Window Safety

  • Keep windows locked when they are closed.
  • Never let children open windows by themselves.
  • Prevent windows from opening more than four inches by using window guards (with the exception of a fire escape window).
  • Don’t place furniture near windows.
  • Know that screens don’t prevent falls.

Furniture Safety

  • Don’t let children jump on beds or sofas.
  • Use a guardrail on beds until a child is at least 35 inches tall.
  • Do not allow a child under the age of six to sleep in the top bed of bunk beds.
  • Secure TVs and furniture to the wall using mounts, brackets, braces, anchors, or wall straps to prevent tip-overs.

Staircase Safety

  • Use safety gates at the top and bottom of staircases and attach them to the wall. Read the manufacturer's instructions and warning labels to make sure you have the right gate for your needs. Not all gates are safe for use at the top of stairs.
  • Keep stairs clear of toys and other objects.
  • Keep staircases well lit.
  • Use the railing.
  • Never slide down railings.