Preventing falls

The littlest movements from your baby can end in a tumble or fall. There’s a lot you can do around the house to help protect your baby from falls, or prevent them from falling in the first place.

Preventing falls with baby

  • Change nappies and clothes on the floor.

  • Have everything you need with you.

  • Stay with baby at the change table, bed, chair, sofa, high chair or in a shopping trolley.

  • If using a bouncinette, put it on the floor. Use the harness if it has one.

  • If using a pram, use the harness.

  • If your baby falls asleep in the pram, don’t leave them alone. They may wriggle into a place where they can’t breathe easily.

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings for new furniture (how to set it up, and how to use a harness).

  • Use a handrail when you are carrying your baby down stairs.

Preventing falls when your baby starts rolling and crawling

  • Keep the cot’s sides up when your baby is in bed.

  • Lower the height of an adjustable cot when your baby can sit unsupported.

  • Put a barrier at the top and bottom of stairs.

  • Close or block the door of rooms that are unsafe.

  • Fence balconies so a child can’t fall off or climb up.

  • Check that bars on cots, stairs, barriers and fences:

    • are firmly in place and not broken

    • are between 50mm and 95mm

    • to prevent them becoming trapped or

    • falling through gaps.

  • Don’t use a baby walker, they are dangerous and they can tip over. They don’t help babies learn to walk.

Preventing falls when your child starts walking

  • Keep the cot or bed away from windows.

  • Use barriers at stairs and doorways.

  • Use safety catches on windows your child could climb out of.

  • Don’t leave chairs or stools near the bench, stove or windows that open.

Preventing falls with your busy toddler & pre-schooler

Your child can now move quickly. They can get into many dangerous situations at home and in the neighbourhood.

  • To prevent children running into glass:

    • put bright stickers on the glass

    • use safety glass or film on glass doors and low windows

    • put something in front of glass areas to prevent children falling into them.

  • Use gates at the bottom and top of the stairs.

  • Use safety catches on windows.

  • Put all movable furniture away so they don’t climb on a stove or open window.

  • Check that play equipment is safe, and that the surface underneath is made of impact-absorbing material.

  • Have rules for equipment, like one child at a time on the trampoline.

  • Use the shopping trolley safety harness provided

Head injury 

A head injury can occur with a fall. If you notice anything that makes you think your baby or child has received a head injury, or they just seem "not OK", take them to the doctor immediately. You may notice that they are:

  • vomiting
  • sleepy or difficult to wake
  • abnormally quiet
  • irritable, have a different cry.
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