• Mayo Clinic Minute

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Fall prevention tips for kids

In conjunction with the first day of fall in mid-September, Falls Prevention Awareness Week is a national health campaign observed to raise awareness about injuries due to falls.

Dr. Neha Raukar, a Mayo Clinic emergency medicine physician, says many injuries and even deaths in children can occur because of falls.

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Every year in the U.S., roughly 2.2 million children under 15 are seen in emergency departments for injuries related to falls.

"You can see things as simple as little cuts and bumps and bruises, to broken bones to big head injuries," says Dr. Raukar.

About half of those injuries occur in toddlers, kids 4 and under.

"If you think about kids and how they're exploring their environment, it's good to just be aware of what they're doing," says Dr. Raukar.

While falls can occur anywhere, windows and stairs are common causes of fall-related injury and death in young children. To keep your child safe, install window guards and stops. Keep windows locked and closed when not in use. And for those kids that like to climb, move furniture away from the windows, and use approved safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.

As kids get older, injuries from falls outside the home, such as bicycling or on the playground, are more likely to occur. Falls on the playground account for almost 200,000 trips to the emergency room each year.

"When they're outside playing on the playground, make sure that you have a nice soft surface for them to land off the monkey bars or off of a jungle gym," says Dr. Raukar.

And when biking, skateboarding or other fun stuff, protect the head by wearing a helmet.