Essential Facts About Unintentional Falls
Falls are among the leading causes of injury-related ER visits. Learn more about unintentional falls and help reduce injuries associated with it.
Unintentional falls can happen to anyone, at any place and at any time. Falls may not seem serious but they can lead to life-changing, even fatal, consequences.
Every year, over 9 million people visit emergency department or are given first aid due to falls. Although emergency medical services and emergency departments are prepared to care for such injuries, prevention is still the first option. Awareness of the risks and doing preventive measures can help prevent many life changing disabilities.
What you should know about falls:
- Unintentional falls are the major cause deaths due to unintentional home injury, and accounts for more than 40 percent of nonfatal injuries.
- Falls are more common among older adults (over 70 years old) and young children (under five years old).
- The most common causes of severe falls in children are associated with windows, baby walkers, and play equipment, such as trampolines.
- Meanwhile, for elderly, falls are most commonly caused by problems with walking, balance and coordination, visual impairment, a history of stroke or paralysis of a body part, chronic medical condition, and lower-body weakness.
How to prevent unintentional falls:
- Keep your house free of clutter, especially the walkways or stairs.
- Invest in having nightlights in the hall, bedroom and bathroom. Make sure stairs are well-lighted at night.
- Regularly check stairway carpeting or boards for loose parts.
- If possible, install hand grip bars in shower area or bathroom, especially if the household has older adults or those with disabilities.
- Move furniture or objects on the floor that could cause tripping hazards.
- Avoid using throw rugs, especially for older adults. Consider using a panic button for the elderly people.
- Make sure that the shower area and tub has a non-skid surface. Unintentional falls most commonly occur in the bathroom and shower because of slippery surface.
- Make sure the child use age-appropriate toy or playground equipment. Also inspect if it’s in good condition.
- As much as possible, play areas should be covered with soft padding such as fine sand, wood chips, or shredded mulch.
- If playing contact sports, motorcycling or biking, make sure to wear appropriate protective gear.
- Teach children to hold the handrail when using the stairs. Always keep stairs clear of clutter, toys, and other items that can increase the risk of tripping.
- If there are young children, install locking gates near stairs to prevent children from using the stairs unsupervised.
Unintentional falls are very common. And it is ironic because fall injuries are actually very preventable. For older adults, a single fall can start the beginning of a serious decline in health. Making appropriate adjustments to minimize the risk of fall is essential.