Fall Prevention in Babies

5 min read

By Dr. Chetan Ginigiri,MBBS(JIPMER), MD (PGIMER), Fellowship PICU (Kings College London)
Head of Dept – Paediatric & Neonatal services, Aster CMI Hospital
17 years of experience

Yes, handling a growing baby is not an easy task! Their first roll-on bed, the first crawl, the first step, the first jump – you will remember it all. And once they learn all that there is no stopping them. While they use their new attained superpowers, stumbling and falling become inevitable.

Falling is a normal part of the way a child develops -learning to walk, climb, run, jump, and explore the physical environment. Fortunately, most falls are of little consequence and most children fall many times in their lives without sustaining much more than a few cuts and bruises. But some falls go beyond the resilience of a child’s body, making them the fourth-largest cause of unintentional injury death for children. Non-fatal falls also represent a significant burden on health care facilities around the world. The frequency of non-fatal falls, health care costs, and the significant risk of death (particularly as a result of head injuries) demand that the prevention of fall-related injuries becomes a vital focus of child safety efforts worldwide.

–WHO Report

baby falling from bed

Babies and Falls

Falls are a major cause of injuries among babies. For this second, they will be right in front of your eyes being all cute; and the other they would have tumbled down on the floor. Genius! Aren’t they? They manage to fall from bed, staircase, cradle, veranda, swing, furniture, balconies or even by slipping on the floor. Falling down the stairs is one of the most common accidents. Their cry will make you rush to the Emergency Room.

Most of the time it is just bumps, bruises and cuts that get healed in a few days. But sometimes fall results in serious injuries like fractures and head injuries that might lead to death. So, educating yourself about fall prevention is a must to protect your little one. It is also important to note that infants and small children are top heavy, that is, they have large heads and are topellable. So, in case of any unwitnessed fall, its better to assume that the head has hit the ground first and measures need to be taken accordingly.

Tips for Fall Prevention in Babies

Due to their restless and clumsy nature, babies fall down more often than you predict. So, if your baby falls, don’t think of yourself as a bad parent. Read along to know all the fall prevention tips to help lessen the chances of babies falling.

Fall Prevention from Bed

Falling from the bed while sleeping is highly possible in case of babies. Therefore, take these precautions to ensure your infant does not fall off:

  • Babies love rolling on the bed. So, while you change their clothes or diaper either do it on the floor or make sure to hold them with one of your hands at all times.
  • They roll over in their sleep too. So, try not to leave alone in bed. If you do, keep huge pillows (not the round ones) around them.
  • Do not keep any toys or pillows in their crib. They might climb on them and fall out.
  • For the babies sleeping in a swinging cradle, use the one with good depth. Do not keep the pillows in there too.

baby standing near baby gate for stairs

Fall Prevention from Stairs

If there are stairs at your place, once the baby learns crawling install a baby gate. Keep the gate locked while your baby is unattended. Make sure they are approved and the baby should not be able to climb that in the future.

Fall Prevention from Furniture

Parents may not even realize that having furniture around a baby can lead to accidents! Ensure your baby does not get hurt by use these safety measures:

  • Do not leave your baby unattended on high furniture like a dining table, coffee table, sofa, etc. There is a high chance of them tumbling down.
  • Keep the light and easily movable furniture out of sight. As they can be easily pushed by babies, they might use them to climb on a higher platform. Make sure the furniture is heavy enough to be steady.
  • Do not place any furniture like a table, stool, couch, or chair near windows or in balconies. Once they learn, babies will climb on them to peep and fall off them causing serious injuries.
  • Make your furniture baby-proof so even if they fall off them, they don’t get hurt badly.
  • Secure the possible furniture to the wall to prevent the tip-overs.

Fall Prevention on Slippery Floors

Slippery floors can spell doom for a baby and can hurt them bad. These tips will help in making sure your baby doesn’t hurt itself if the floor is wet:

  • Due to wet floors, babies can fall into the bathroom very easily. So, keep them within your arm’s reach. Make them sit while you bathe them. You can also use non-slippery bathroom mats.
  • If there is something spilled, clean it as soon as possible or babies can sleep over it.
  • Make them sit in a safe place while the floor is being moped.

Fall Prevention from Trip Hazards

Parents love to see their little hearts taking their first steps and learn to walk. However, you need to make sure that there are no obstacles on the way to avoid tripping and falling!

  • After they learn to walk babies don’t bother to look around and just keep walking. So, if you have small steps in your house, secure them.
  • Do not leave any electric cords or wires on the floor. Do not even keep the toys that can make the trip over on the floor.

baby unattended in balcony

Fall Prevention From Balconies

Balconies are danger zones for babies who may try to climb it and fall.

  • Do not let the child play unattended on the balcony. Keep the doors of the balconies locked.
  • If possible, raise the heights of balcony railings because the falls from balconies can be severe.

Other Important Measures for Fall Prevention

Besides the points mentioned above, parents need to pay heed to these as well to ensure safety of their infant.

  • Try not to leave your baby unattended anywhere.
  • Lock all windows and doors consciously.
  • Put stickers on glass doors so that children don’t run through them inadvertently.
  • Many doctors recommend not using baby walkers as they increase the chances of babies falling. As the walkers move easily on the floor, the chances of tripping over on something harmful are very high.
  • Never keep bouncers or car seats on a raised platform. Always keep them on the floor.
  • Make sure to strap your baby properly in car seats, bouncers, high chairs, and swings. Check them twice.
  • Keep the things that your babies need like toys in their reach so that they don’t attempt to climb things.

Baby leaning in walker -fall

What to do if Baby Falls?

Firstly, pick your baby up and try to console them. Check for the wounds or injuries if any.

  • If they have a bump, apply an ice pack or cold compress.
  • Clean the wound and apply a bandage or antiseptic cream if there is any cut.
  • Call the baby’s doctor if you feel the injury is bad. He will advise you what to do further.
  • If the baby has lost consciousness, has swelled, got hit on the head badly, or if the injury is severe call 108 without any delay.

Fall prevention in babies cannot come from mere luck. You, as a parent or caregiver, never want your baby to get hurt. So, make sure to follow the fall prevention tips mentioned above and you will be able to avoid serious injuries among babies.

Dr. Chetan Ginigiri,MBBS(JIPMER), MD (PGIMER), Fellowship PICU (Kings College London)
Head of Dept – Paediatric & Neonatal services, Aster CMI Hospital
17 years of experience

Dr Chetan Ginigeri is an experienced Pediatric Intensivist with national and international training. With 15 years of experience, he is one among very few Intensivists in India trained to take care of children who need/had organ transplants. He has been responsible for coordinating the Pediatric Organ Transplant program.Read more.

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