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Falls

Introduction

Falls are the most common home accident in Malaysian children. Children between ages 1 to 4 are more prone to falls. They are at risk because of their development stages and their surrounding environment.

Falls can happen anywhere :

  • Within the home, example from :
    • furniture
    • staircase
    • balcony
    • baby walker
  • Outside the home, example :
    • at playground
    • from rides

Injuries from falls

Following a fall, children may sustain various types of injuries such as :

  • Soft tissue injuries such as bruises, sprain, cuts and abrasion
  • Fracture – swollen, pain and deformed limbs
  • Head injury – swollen scalp, bleeding from the ear, nose and mouth, sleepy, vomiting, fits and loss of consciousness
  • Internal organ injuries

Serious consequences from falls

  • Permanent brain injury, stunted growth if fracture involved growth plate of the bone.
  • Severe injuries may result in permanent organ damage and /or death.

Treatment

  • The treatment depends on the types and severity of the injuries.
  • If the child sustains minor injuries such as bruises and sprain, cold compress the area with ice. Give the child paracetamol syrup to relieve pain. Rest the affected area.
  • If the child sustains cuts, clean the area with water, compress the wound with your thumb for few minutes to stop bleeding and elevate it. Cover it with clean dressing.
  • If you suspect the child has a broken bone, splint the area with a blanket, thick cloth or pillow to avoid movement. Use a cloth sling for any broken bones of the upper limbs.
  • Check the bandaged areas to ensure normal blood circulation. If the skin becomes cold and discoloured, loosen the applied bandage.
  • If you suspect the child to have serious injuries, seek medical help.

Prevention

Majority of falls are preventable. These are some steps to prevent falls :

Stairs

  • Block both the head and foot of the stairs or the house doors.
  • Ensure that all stairs are well lit.
  • Make sure children are not left unattended on an upper storey, balcony or any other high places.
Floors

  • Store all folded carpets and make sure things are not scattered on the floor.
  • Mop any spilled over liquid or food on the floor immediately to prevent slippery floors.

Furniture arrangement

  • Avoid placing chairs and furniture near windows.
  • Wash bathroom regularly to prevent moulding which causes slippery floor.
Last reviewed : 26 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Norraliza bt. Md. Zain
Reviewer : Dr. Fuziah bt. Md. Zain