In New York State, fall-related injuries are the leading cause of injury hospitalizations among children ages 0-14 and adults 25 years and older. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for those 45 years and older. Falls can result in serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or fractures. There is also a heavy financial burden to fall-related injuries with a yearly cost of $1.3 billion in New York State for hospitalizations alone.
Infants/Children Ages 14 and Under
In childhood, falls can be an everyday occurrence. The most common causes of fall-related hospitalizations for children include: slipping or tripping, falling from playground equipment, falling from bed, and falling on or from stairs or steps.
- Use child safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs
- Never leave an infant unattended on a table, bed or other elevated surface
- Use safety straps to secure your child in strollers, shopping carts and infant carriers
- Place your child in a stationary play-station rather than a mobile walker
- Playground surfaces should consist of shredded rubber, fiber mulch, or fine sand and extend 12 inches deep and 6 feet around equipment to reduce the severity of falls.
Older Adults Ages 65 and Older
Fall-related injuries in older adults often lead to hospitalizations, beginning the downward spiral that can result in long-term disability or death. Common injuries as a result of a fall include brain injuries, and fractures of the hip, vertebrae, and pelvis. Over 60% of falls that lead to hospitalizations occur in the home.
- Improve home safety by installing handrails on stairways and removing loose rugs or other clutter
- Use ample lighting throughout the home, install illuminated light switches at the top and bottom of stairs, and night lights in the bathrooms
- Use a step-stool and grab bar to reach objects on high shelves
- Use non-slip bath mats in the shower and tub
- Wear shoes with non-slip soles
- Talk to your health care provider about gait, balance, and strength training