Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury for children and senior residents in Frederick County.
Childhood Fall Prevention
Infants are at greater risk from falls associated with nursery equipment, stairs and baby walkers.
Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
Toddlers are at risk from window-related falls.
Older children tend to suffer from bicycle and playground equipment-related falls.
Baby Walker Falls
The big majority of injuries are from falling down a flight of stairs. These often result in head and neck injury. Most of these injuries happen while the child is being actively supervised.
Baby walkers on wheels permit the baby to move too quickly to protect them from injury.
Do not use these old type walkers on wheels but the newer stationery type activity center that is safer.
Window falls usually are associated with death or severe injury, usually a head or brain injury. Children falling from windows are more likely to be under age 5 and are playing unsupervised when they fall.
Move chairs, cribs and other furniture away from windows. Window screens are not sufficient to prevent falls.
Use window guards or inexpensive window stops in the frame to prevent falls.
Windows that are open more than 4-inches are a fall danger.
Senior Fall Prevention
More than 1/3 of adults age 65 years and older have at least 1 fall each year, but falls are not a normal part of aging. Most falls can be prevented with simple actions.
Falls are the leading cause of injury death. Older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries 5 times more often than they are for injuries from other causes. Of those who fall, 20 - 30% suffer moderate to severe injuries that reduce mobility and independence.
Falls are often caused by health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, stroke or high blood pressure. Medications can cause dizziness which lead to falls. Lack of exercise and/or problems moving around can also lead to falls. Other causes of falls are things such as poor diet or improper footwear or vision problems. Many of these factors can be changed to lessen the risk of falling.
Preventing Indoor Falls
Adaptive tools, devices in good working order
Get rid of clutter everywhere
Good lighting everywhere
Good/proper reach position
Handles/device on bed
Locks on doors, basement stairs, etc.
Nonskid items for stairs
Raised toilet seat and handrails
Reflective collars and bells on pets
Rubber tub mats
Thin nap carpet
Traffic control and flow - easy and safe navigation
Wide doorways and halls
Preventing Outdoor Falls
Learning safe way to get in and out of car, bed and chair
Handrails on both side of steps
Be aware of curbs, ramps, especially when entering or exiting a car
Good outdoor lighting: dusk, dawn, motion detectors
Remove hazards: snow, ice, tree debris
Sturdy outdoor furniture
Keep bushes, etc. from obstructing walkway-also planters
Reduce glare - sunglasses
Use appliances properly (cane or walker)
Know where pets are
Fix uneven sidewalks
Mark uneven areas - reflectors, lights - where lawn and walking areas meet (edge of driveway, etc.)