Preventing falls

Babies fall a lot, even when you think they are in a safe place. Supervision is needed whenever falls are likely and your baby could hurt herself. Here are some examples:

  • A child is left alone in her high chair. She tips over her high chair or falls trying to get out.
  • An adult is changing a baby’s diaper on a changing table and steps away to get something.
  • A child climbs onto a bookcase, which then falls onto her because it is not secured to the wall.
  • A child climbs on furniture and falls out a window that does not have a window guard preventing it from opening more than 10 cm.

Stairs

A gate must be installed at the top of every set of stairs. It’s also preferable to install one at the bottom of the stairs. It must be securely attached to the doorframe or hallway walls.

If the gate is second-hand, make sure it meets current safety standards by checking the Health Canada website at www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/consumer-product-safety/reports-publications/consumer-education/your-child-safe/is-your-child-safe.html#a410.

Baby walkers

Baby walkers are prohibited in Canada because children can fall down the stairs in them, causing head and other injuries. Health Canada recommends using stationary activity centres for babies instead. They are safer than walkers because they do not have wheels.

Play structures

Playgrounds and slides

Make sure your child is under adult supervision whenever she uses equipment like play structures and slides.

Teach your child how to play safely on each type of equipment.

Falls are the leading cause of playground injury. The risk of injury is linked primarily to two factors:

  • The height of the equipment (the higher it is, the more dangerous it is)
  • The shock-absorbency of the material under and around the equipment

Make sure your child uses age-appropriate equipment and that there is enough shock-absorbing material (e.g., 15 to 30 cm of wood chips or sand). Play equipment should not be used in winter because shock-absorbing materials are likely to be frozen.

Deaths are rare, and are usually the result of a child’s head, neck, or clothing (e.g., cords or scarves) getting stuck in openings in play equipment. For this reason, when your child uses play equipment, make sure she is not wearing any clothing with cords, have her wear a neck warmer instead of a scarf, and remove her bike helmet, if she is wearing one.

Trampolines

Because so many trampoline injuries are reported, Health Canada recommends that children under 6 not be allowed to play on trampolines, even with supervision.