Child Fall Prevention Talking Points
The following is a list of key facts about preventing child falls. This can be used as talking points when discussing child fall prevention tips with parents, caregivers, nurses, doctors, and other public health practitioners.
- Explain the importance of adult supervision. While there is no equal substitution for direct supervision, if the caregiver needs to move away from his or her child, he or she should be put in a safe place, like a crib or playpen.
- Encourage parents to install baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs and to never use accordion-style or tension gates.
- Make parents aware of the dangers of baby walkers. Let them know there are safer alternatives, like stationary walkers, playpens, and high chairs.
- Convince parents to use safety belts and straps whenever they are available to prevent children from falling.
- Make parents aware of the importance of supervising children at all times while they play on playgrounds.
- Convince parents to only allow their children to play on safe equipment. Explain important playground safety features, such as shock-absorbing surfaces.
- Encourage parents to always check playground equipment for possible hazards, such as rust or corrosion, sharp parts, spaces where a child can become entrapped, and tripping hazards, before they allow their children to play. If parents find any such hazards on their home playground equipment they should fix them as soon as possible.
- Instruct parents on the importance of children using age-appropriate equipment. Children under the age of two should not climb higher than 32 inches (about 3 feet), and children ages two to five should not climb higher than 60 inches (about 5 feet).
Sports and Recreation Safety
- Convince parents that wheeled sports and recreational equipment (e.g., bicycles, in-line skates, skateboards, and nonmotorized scooters) are not toys. Stress the importance of wearing safety helmets to prevent head injuries.
- Explain that New York State Law requires all children between the ages of 1 and 14 to wear approved safety helmets while engaging in the above wheeled and recreational activities.
- Encourage parents to use helmets and discuss how parental modeling increases use among children.
- Speak directly to children about the importance of protecting their bodies while playing sports and how protective gear helps this effort.
- Talk to children about the importance of following sports safety rules, especially sliding rules in baseball, body checking in hockey, and spearing in football.
Supply pamphlets and other educational materials to parents. If parents have questions about fall prevention, please refer them to the Department of Health's Bureau of Injury Prevention at (518) 473-1143.