In 2010, unintentional falls resulted in nearly 3 million injuries requiring treatment at the emergency department. These unintentional falls are actually the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children in the US and the great news is that many can be prevented.
From the moment a child learns to crawl, the world becomes a magical place full of endless adventure. At this young age children don’t understand consequences or cause and effect so parents will have their hands full. It will be impossible to second guess everything but there are some precautions that can be taken to ensure that little explorers remain safe and parents remain sane. Some things to consider as these expeditions begin are:
• Screens are meant to keep bugs out, not children in. Install window guards to prevent unintentional window falls. If windows are above first floor include an emergency release devise in case of fire
• For little crawlers and climbers move cribs and chairs and other furniture away from windows to help prevent window falls. If windows need to be opened be sure to open them from the top and not the bottom.
• Keep babies and young kids strapped in when using high chairs, infant carriers, swings and strollers and never place infant carriers on top of a table or other furniture because they can fall.
• Baby walkers can be dangerous so opt for a stationary activity center when little ones need to practice standing and moving. Find one with a non-moveable base and place it far from stairs, hot appliances and curtain cords.
• Use approved stairgates at the top and bottom of stairways and when toddlers are learning how to negotiate stairs they need close supervision and a caring hand to hold. They should be screwed into the walls.
It’s only natural for little ones to want to explore, especially as they develop new skills like crawling and toddling. This is just the beginning of so many more adventures that lay ahead so as parents we need to encourage their sense of discovery while keeping them out of harms way. Who knows, todays toddler just might be tomorrow’s Olympic athletes.