Two of the biggest risk factors for falls in young children may be unlimited energy and curiosity. With those factors in mind, it’s important to think about everyday objects and environments that can be hazardous. A few to consider include:
- Grocery store shopping carts
Preventing falls at home requires some pre-planning just as it does when you and your children leave the house. Focus on these common areas to prevent falls:
Use anchors, braces, mounts, etc., to secure furniture – especially TVs – to the wall. Keep furniture away from windows. Strap kids into high chairs and always place baby carriers on the floor.
Use safety gates to keep young children from accessing the top and bottom of stairs in your home.
Falls from windows are very common when the seasons change and families open their windows to air out the house. Be especially cautious if you live in an apartment on the second floor or higher. Take precautions to keep your child from falling out the window.
Install window guards, window stops and emergency release devices to prevent falls and prepare for fires at the same time. Visit the National Safety Council for more information on window safety.
Choose a grocery cart with a fun sidecar if your grocery store has them. If not, place your child in the front shopping cart seat facing you and use the safety belt. Never leave your child unattended in the cart.
Pick a play area with a rubberized surface, sand, mulch, etc. that can cushion an unexpected fall.
Medical, physical and environmental problems can all lead to falls. Stay ahead of these known factors that often contribute to falls:
About half of all falls happen at home and result from pets, rugs, carpets and other tripping hazards, as well as clutter and poor lighting. Visit the CDC for more on preventing falls in older adults.
High heels, certain slippers, shoes with smooth or slick soles, socks or stockings may lead to a fall.
Many seniors avoid exercise because it sounds too hard, but they need to keep moving. Try stretching, walking and moving as much as possible. Even if lifting canned goods while watching TV, that helps!
In addition to vision problems, common conditions that affect the feet and blood pressure contribute to falls.
If you have fallen, make sure to review your medications with a pharmacist or healthcare provider to ensure there are no interactions with the medications you are taking.
It’s important to get your vision checked at least once a year. Changes in vision can lead to falls. Impaired depth perception makes it difficult to determine where the curb is and where to place your foot when walking in elevated areas such as curbs or stairs.
Help your loved one incorporate these measures into his or her daily life and living environment:
- Participate in exercise programs, such as Tai Chi, to increase strength and improve balance. Focus on sit and be fit style activity.
- Review all medications with a doctor or pharmacist to reduce the chance of harmful side effects and drug interactions.
- Check the home thoroughly and remove any potential fall hazards.
- See an eye doctor to have your loved one’s eye health evaluated and confirm or update glasses and contact prescriptions.
- Choose supportive shoes with nonskid soles as part of your fall-prevention plan.
- Use assistive devices such as a cane or walker. This will help to keep you steady.