Keep your child safe from falls

We all want our kids to be physically active and to enjoy their playtime. And, we also want to keep them safe — but accidents may happen in spite of our best efforts to prevent them. Fall-related injuries are a leading reason for treatment in the Emergency Department (ED) at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.

When should you seek medical attention for a child who is injured from a fall?

Follow these general guidelines:

  • Persistent pain or disability (for example, inability to walk) for 10 –15 minutes after the injury
  • Change in mental status
  • Vomiting
  • Persistent or worsening headache

What is the most common cause of falls for children?

Children can fall from any surface they can reach. One particularly dangerous play area is the trampoline. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), children under age 15 account for over 90% of injuries from trampoline falls — and most of these trampolines are located at private homes. Falls from trampolines can be especially dangerous for children — causing injuries that can result in bruises, sprains, fractures, or even paralysis.

Trampoline injuries are most often caused by:

  • Colliding with another person on the trampoline.
  • Landing improperly while jumping or doing stunts on the trampoline.
  • Falling or jumping off the trampoline.
  • Falling on the trampoline springs or frame.

Here are seven steps you can take to protect your child from serious trampoline injuries.

  1. Allow only one person on the trampoline at a time.
  2. Don’t attempt or allow somersaults — landing on the head or neck can result in serious injuries, including paralysis.
  3. Only use trampolines with shock-absorbing pads that completely cover the springs, hooks, and frame.
  4. Place the trampoline away from structures, trees, and other play areas.
  5. Do not allow a child under 6 to use a full-size trampoline.
  6. Do not use a ladder with the trampoline — it provides unsupervised access by small children.
  7. Always supervise children who use a trampoline — trampoline enclosures can help prevent injuries from falls off trampolines.

Darwin Koller M.D., Board Certified Pediatric Emergency Medicine physician who sees children at  Children’s Hospital at Erlanger’s Emergency Room. For more information go to www.erlanger.org/childrens or call 423-778-2564.