FALLS: Tips to Prevent the Most Common Cause of Brain Injuries

To reduce the possibility of a fall, the most common cause of serious brain injuries to both children and adults inside the home, consider the following precautions:

For Children:

Windows

  • Fit window locks and safety catches that lock the window shut (check local building codes) but prevent the window from opening too wide to allow a small child to fall through
  • Move furniture away from the windows to prevent children from climbing and falling out.
  • Use safety glass (complying with BS 6206) in low glass doors and windows or cover the panes with safety film.

On the Stairs

  • Use stair gates at the top and the bottom of the staircase that can prevent a toddler using a walker from falling down the staircase.
  • Ensure stairs are free from clutter.
  • Supervise young children at all times when walking up or down stairs.
  • Ensure children walk and don't run up and down stairs.
  • Do not allow children to play on the stairs.
  • Hold onto the banister rail when carrying babies on stairs and encourage young children to do so.
  • Ensure a toddler’s cot is free from larger toys to prevent them from climbing and falling out.
  • Don't leave babies unattended on raised surfaces
  • Use harnesses in high chairs and pushchairs.
  • Periodically check the security of the balusters under the stair railing to ensure that they can resist force values established by state and local building codes.

In the Yard and Garden

  • Teach children not to climb on roofs or sheds etc.
  • Ensure play equipment in the garden is over a soft surface such as grass or bark as opposed to concrete.
  • Ensure paving stones are level.
  • Encourage children not to climb trees or shrubs-- pruning lower tree branches to discourage this.

For Everyone:

  • Ensure floors are clear of clutter and toys—be extra careful when children are learning to walk.
  • Avoid highly polished floors
  • Use rug grips to avoid slipping.
  • Use soft corner covers on sharp edges such as tables, shelves etc.
  • Consider bathroom grab bars
  • Locate and fix uneven flooring
  • Do not walk on stairs or bare floors in socks.
  • Quickly clear ice, water or fallen leaves from walkways, driveways and outdoor entries
  • Install railings on both sides of outside staircases
  • Inspect drainage from pipes, gutters, overhangs, roofs to make sure that water directed away from the steps, walkways and driveways.
  • Spread salt on outside travel areas to lower the freezing point of moisture to eliminate or, at least, forestall the accumulation of ice on such paths.
  • Remove extension cords away from floor areas where people traffic; if you are unable to move the electrical cords, make sure they a clearly marked or, better yet, are high visibility yellow extension cords.
  • Do not leave a child unattended on a bicycle, shopping cart, scooter, razr, stroller or any other vehicle type with wheels
  • When carrying infant in a backpack, be cognizant of overhanging fans, electrical fixtures, beams, door way heights, etc.
  • discourage children from performing gymnastic exercises such as flips, handstands, hand springs, somersaults unless down on a gym floor mat under supervision.