Fall Prevention

Fall Prevention

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-Related Falls

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
  • Baby gates
  • Get rid of clutter everywhere
  • Good lighting everywhere
  • Good/proper reach position
  • Handles/device on bed
  • Handrails
  • Lighting sensors
  • Locks on doors, basement stairs, etc.
  • Non-rolling chairs
  • Nonskid items for stairs
  • Portable phones
  • 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
  • Proper footwear
  • 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.)
  • Proper storage of outdoor toys and games
  • Have assistance if unsteady, poor weather, etc.

Additional Resources