Falls continue to be a leading cause of hospitalisation for children under 15 years of age.
Between July 2013 and June 2014 over 19,000 children presented to Princess Margaret Hospital Emergency Department (PMH ED) with an injury, and of these presentations approximately 38.5 percent (n=7,566) of the injuries were as a result of a fall. This has risen since 2009-10 where 36.6 percent (n=6,111) of the presentations were due to falls.
Fall presentations can be broken down into three groups: fall from the same level, fall from less than one metre high, and fall from more than one metre high. Between July 2013 and June 2014 the most common cause was a fall on the same level, accounting for 56.3 percent (n=19,635) of fall injuries, this was followed by a fall from less than one metre (33.9%, n=11,849) and then a fall from greater than one metre (9.8%, n=3,416). A large proportion of these presentations were minor cases, however it is still important to take the appropriate safety measures to reduce these numbers. The simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of a fall include:
- Always supervise your children
- Always use harnesses in highchairs and prams
- Never leave babies alone on a raised surface
- Ensure you purchase equipment with the Australian Standards tick of approval
- If using bunk beds, ensure they have guard rails and a fixed ladder
- Use gates /barriers at the top and bottom of stairs
- Ensure stairs are well lit and that children can reach the light switches
- Keep objects and furniture that children can climb away from windows and balconies
Although some falls may seem difficult to prevent, falls can be prevented!
Watch our falls prevention animation at here