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Keep Your Baby or Toddler Safe From Falls


Keep Your Baby or Toddler Safe From Falls

Each new learning stage for your baby requires increased attention on your part to prevent an injury. It may surprise you how fast your baby can move from one stage to the next. Being aware of your baby's abilities and what skills he or she is likely to develop next will help you prevent injuries.

Always be gentle with your baby. It is important to protect your baby from a brain injury. Shaking or slapping a baby in anger can cause an injury to the brain. If a baby has been shaken or slapped, it is your responsibility to notify your health professional.

Be aware of your baby's risk of falling:

  • Never leave your baby unattended in high places, such as on a tabletop, in a crib with the sides down, or even on a bed or sofa.
  • Do not leave your baby unattended in any infant seat or "sitting" toy, such as a swing or jumper. Use all the safety straps provided.

Take steps to prevent falls:

  • Use stair gates to block stairways. Use gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, and use the gates properly. Choose a gate that slides to close, rather than accordion-style gates. Some older gates have openings large enough that a baby's head could get caught. Look for a gate with openings no bigger than 2.4 in. (6.1 cm).
  • Do not use baby walkers. Walker injuries can include pinches and falls. Walkers can cause severe accidents, such as a fall down a flight of stairs.
  • Keep your baby away from elevated porches, decks, and landings.
  • Watch your toddler when he or she is outside. Uneven grass, sloping lawns, and hills may increase your toddler's risk of falling.
  • Make your home safe from falls by removing hazards that might cause a fall.

Establish good safety habits early so your child will continue them when he or she is older:

  • Place children in an approved child car seat when traveling in a motor vehicle. Follow the manufacturer's directions for installing and securing the seat. Set a good example by always using your seat belt when traveling in a motor vehicle.
  • Have your children wear helmets and other protective clothing whenever necessary, such as when they are passengers on a bike or riding a tricycle on their own.
  • Do not keep firearms in your home. If you must keep firearms, lock them up and store them unloaded and uncocked. Lock ammunition in a separate area.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last RevisedJuly 28, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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