How To Safeguard Your Child From Falls

Children of all ages are prone to falling over. When first starting to walk, toddlers are unbalanced and unsure of their footing. In their teenage years, rapid growth spurts make for awkwardness. Between, stray laces and a lack of fear make for some spectacular tumbles.

Children develop quickly. One day they can hardly crawl, the next they are climbing up the lounge furniture as if they were Edmund Hillary or Sherpa Tenzing conquering Everest. It’s this rapid evolution of their skills that makes it so difficult to keep falls and bumps to a minimum. Perhaps the best we can do is stop falls from causing serious injury.

The home as an adventure playground

One of the most enjoyable things we do with our children is take them to a park or playground and let them play on the swings and slides. We encourage them to run and leap from one stepping stone to another, climb up ropes, and develop their muscles. Then we wonder why they use our furniture as their own indoor adventure playground!

Actually, it’s not all our fault. As soon as they can crawl, babies have a natural urge to get as high as they can, or move as quickly as they can to explore their surroundings further. When a child falls, how badly they are injured will depend upon:

  • How far they fall
  • What they fall onto
  • Obstructions they hit on the way down

Hard surfaces… um… hurt. Sharp table corners hurt too, and can cut, while a fall from 2 or 3 metres is more dangerous than a fall from a couple of feet.

Making your home a safe and ‘soft’ adventure playground

Young children are going to climb and run no matter what you do, so the best strategy to employ is to watch and understand how your child is developing and plan a safe home environment:

  • When a child is a baby, keep them safe by constant supervision and controlling their movement. If changing on a bed or changing table, keep a baby safe by keeping your hand on him or her even when you turn away.
  • As the baby grows into the toddler years, starts to crawl and then takes those first tentative steps, make sure that all furniture is sturdy and steady and can’t be pulled over.
  • Keep a safety gate on stairs to stop a crawling baby from climbing up and falling down
  • Keep all children’s toys at low levels that are easily accessible without climbing.
  • Move sharp edges away from areas where you child plays, or is likely to fall and bump into them.

Your young child is going to be curious, especially if he or she thinks they are ‘missing out’. Children who are put to bed while a garden party is going on are likely to climb up at the window. If it’s open, you risk them falling out. Move chairs away from windows and keep windows locked at all times. And if you have a balcony where you child plays, never leave them unattended.

A few tips for all

It’s not only children that are prone to falls. We adults fall over, too. Especially if:

  • Spillages haven’t been mopped up and floors are left slippery
  • Children’s toys litter the lounge room floor and stairs
  • Rugs on shiny floors don’t have anti-skid mats underneath

If your child falls over, the likelihood is that no serious damage will be done. But always err on the side of caution. It’s best to be safe than sorry.