Fall Prevention Reduces Critical Injuries
Falls are a frequent, but preventable, cause of injury for young and old alike. As the caregiver of young children or elderly parents, you worry about your loved one falling. We are here to support you with education on precautions and preventive measures to keep your kids and parents safe.
The trauma team at University Health believes education helps prevent trauma and is more effective than emergency care. Through our Fall Prevention program, we are proud to offer information to you, your parents and grandparents.
Preventing Falls in Children and Seniors
With young children, falls are likely a part of daily life. As toddlers learn to walk, most of their falls will be a very short distance onto a safely padded backside. Our prevention efforts focus on the ones that are far less common, but far more likely to cause critical injury.
In seniors, falls are more common than stroke and a primary reason seniors require healthcare services. Those injuries often lead to a decline in quality of life and independence. We are committed to educating caregivers on effective, proactive measures to prevent falls.
Resources, Risk Factors and Prevention Tips
Falling may be a symptom of another condition. Frequent falls can indicate a balance disorder or poor vision in kids and diabetes or blood pressure in seniors. Your loved one’s doctor can discuss treatment options, if necessary, while the information below describes risk factors and prevention tips.
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
FurnitureUse 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.
StairsUse safety gates to keep young children from accessing the top and bottom of stairs in your home.
WindowsFalls 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.
Shopping CartsChoose 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.
PlaygroundsPick a play area with a rubberized surface, sand, mulch, etc. that can cushion an unexpected fall.
Home HazardsAbout half of all falls happen at home and result from pets, rugs, carpets and other tripping hazards, as well as clutter and poor lighting.
FootwearHigh heels, certain slippers, shoes with smooth or slick soles, socks or stockings may lead to a fall.
Keep MovingMany 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!
Medical ConditionsIn addition to vision problems, common conditions that affect the feet and blood pressure contribute to falls.
MedicationsIf 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.
Poor VisionIt’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.