Even the best parent or babysitter cannot have eyes on a child every second, but that is all the time it takes for a toddler or baby to go tumbling down a set of stairs. When a young child (5 or younger) falls down the stairs and needs medical treatment, a head injury is present 75 percent of the time.
Young children who suffer head injuries are more likely to suffer developmental disabilities and behavioral issues, even when permanent brain injury does not occur. Of course, severe head injuries can also result in severe mental impairment and death.
The consequences of a fall down the stairs can be devastating, so it is crucial for parents, babysitters and daycare workers to avoid such injuries. Some ways to prevent children from falling down stairs include:
- Use childproof gates and/or doors to deny access to stairwells.
- Install child-friendly staircase railings as most are at a height for adults only.
- Keep stairs and landings clutter-free.
- Ensure that there is not loose carpeting or rugs on or near staircases.
- When carrying a small child up or down stairs, avoid carrying other objects simultaneously.
Also, be especially careful with your children in older buildings. Many historic buildings have longer-than-normal staircases where one fall can send a child down dozens of stairs. Older buildings also are more likely to have uneven surfaces that have warped over the years.
If your child has suffered serious fall injuries because of the negligence of another, speak with an experienced New York injury attorney to discuss the legal implications. If you would like to see our Stairway Falls page, visit here.
Source: CBS News, "Stair Injuries Report: Every Six Minutes, U.S. Child Falls," Ryan Jaslow, March 12, 2012