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What to Do When a Child Slips and Falls

Casey Woodruff

injury reportSlip and fall accidents can happen to anyone. While an article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes that older adults are at particularly high risk of sustaining a serious injury in a fall, personal injuries resulting from slips, trips, and falls can affect Americans in every age group. Indeed, a fact sheet from Kidshealth.org highlights how kids can suffer serious injuries in fall-related accidents. A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) underscores that “falling is a normal part of the way a child develops—learning to walk, climb, run, jump, and explore the physical environment.” But what kinds of falls are particularly hazardous to our children’s health, and how can we prevent them?

Slips, Trips, and Falls Involving Kids 

According to the WHO report, “falls are the most common type of childhood injury presenting at emergency departments, accounting for between 20 to 25 percent of such visits.” To be sure, falls currently are the 12th leading cause of death in children between the ages of 5 to 9, and teens between the ages of 15 to 19. To get a sense of the total number of kids that require medical attention each year due to fall-related injuries, around 46,000 children suffer fatal injuries each year worldwide.

How many of these injuries result from slips, trips, and falls as opposed to falls from heights? As you might imagine, a fall from a height is a more common source of injury among children, accounting for about 66 percent of the fatal fall-related injuries reported by the WHO. Around 8 percent of kids who sustain fatal fall-related injuries slipped and fell on the same level. But slip and fall accidents can also be debilitating. While fewer than 10 percent of all fatal childhood falls occur on the same level, far more same-level falls lead to serious but nonfatal injuries.

One of the more dangerous places for a childhood slip and fall is a local playground. As the WHO report explains, one of the most important strategies for reducing slip and fall injuries among kids is encouraging your child’s school or your local community to focus on “developing and enforcing standards for the design and maintenance of safe playgrounds,” which includes installing “rubber or bark ground surfacing.” When kids falls onto rubber or bark, they are less likely to sustain serious injuries than if they fall onto concrete.

Preventing Slip and Fall Accidents

In addition to focusing on playground materials, a safety tip sheet from the Mayo Clinic emphasizes that parents should also think carefully about the following issues to prevent childhood falls:

  • Install handrails on your stairs;
  • Keep staircases free of clutter and other tripping hazards;
  • Avoid using extension cords—known tripping hazards—when children are present;
  • Use rubber pads in the bathtub;
  • Immediately clean spills in the kitchen or other areas of the house;
  • Place foam carpet padding under rugs to avoid slipping; and
  • Do not use baby walkers.

If you child sustained injuries after slipping and falling, you may be able to file a claim for financial compensation. An experienced Naperville premises liability attorney can discuss your options with you today. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans for more information.

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