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Child safety: Falling from a height

A bed, a couch or even a table can be a dangerous place for a baby or child. It is essential to be vigilant and consider safety aspects at all times.

The risk of children or babies falling off of something is quite high as they do not have the full developed coordination or balance just yet compared to that of an adult or adolescent.

Dayne Olsen, an emergency care practitioner (ECP) at the ER24 Vaal Branch, recently responded to an incident where a baby fell from a height at a home in Sebokeng in the south of Gauteng.

At this specific scene, a one-year-old baby girl sustained serious head injuries after she allegedly fell from the top of the table. Dayne and other paramedics treated her and had to provide her with advanced life support interventions before she was airlifted to hospital.

“It happens quite often where young children fall off of something. Even if you as a parent or a supervised adult think you’re just quickly going to reach for this or quickly going to do this, an accident can still happen. Please don’t leave your children unattended for even a second. Not in a high chair or even on the bed as they can roll or fall off of the bed,” said Dayne.

How do I know if the fall seriously injured my child?

According to The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, it depends on the seriousness of the fall and this can be influenced by three important factors:

  • The height the child can fall from
  • What the child falls onto
  • What the child may hit as they fall

The height the child can fall from

The lower the height, the lower the danger.

What the child falls onto

Hard surfaces such as concrete, ceramic tiles, and even compacted sand are more hazardous to fall onto than softer surfaces. Impact absorbing or soft fall materials under play equipment are recommended to provide a softer landing.

What the child may hit as they fall

Place sharp-edged furniture such as coffee tables to the side of the room, where a child is unlikely to fall on to them.

General safety tips:

  • Take a first-aid course. Parents, caregivers and domestic workers should be proficient in CPR and basic first aid.
  • Keep a comprehensive first-aid kit at home.
  • If your child has experienced a fall, examine them for injuries and take them to a clinic or your general practitioner if you have any concerns or notice any change in their behaviour.
  • Pin a detailed list of emergency numbers on the fridge and keep it next to the phone. Save ER24’s emergency number, 084 124, on your phone. Make sure it is visible in your home so that it can be quickly accessed and remembered.