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Fall Injuries to Children

Each year over 6,800 children present to the Perth Children’s Hospital Emergency Department (PCH ED) with a fall injury. This accounts for approximately 36 percent of the total injuries presenting to PCH ED.

Falls can occur whilst children learn new skills and is considered a part of childhood development, however serious falls which can easily be prevented can also occur. The Falls Bulletin provides a snapshot of fall injuries presenting to PCH ED between July 2016 and June 2021. During this period 34,423 children between 0 and 15 years old presented with a fall injury.

Injuries resulting from falls can happen at any age, however the PCH ED data shows that children aged 1 to 2 years accounted for the highest number of fall injuries (21.3%, n=7,336). This was followed by children aged 3 to 4 years (15.9%, n=5,471). A large number of these injuries were falls from the same level (58.9%, n=20,284) i.e. tripping or slipping. The remaining falls were categorised as falls from less than one metre (29.0%, n=9,978) and falls from greater than one metre (12.1%, n=4,161).

Although some falls are tricky to avoid there are many things we can do to reduce the risk and/or severity of fall injuries to children. This includes:

  • Never leave babies alone on a raised surface.
  • Actively supervise and stay close to your child when he/she is climbing, swinging, or playing on equipment that is above the ground.
  • Always use the harness available on products i.e. prams and highchairs.
  • Ensure there are no trip hazards.
  • Restrict access to stairs by using barriers and teach children how to navigate steps safely under supervision.
  • Avoid leaving large climbable items in the cot or playpen and/or near windows and balcony rails.
  • Ensure children use playground equipment suitable for their age and size.
  • Ensure your child always uses protective gear when using a bike, small wheeled devices or playing sport.

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