RoSPA Child Safety Scotland

Child Safety Scotland

Falls

Father Child

Falls are the most common accident for children under 15 years of age, with those under five most at risk. Most falls are the result of tripping over on the same level but the most serious are falls from height, such as falling out of a high chair or from a bed. Toddlers have no sense of danger and will put themselves in harm's way unless the environment is made safer for them.

Falls Prevention

Stairs

As soon as young babies become mobile and start to crawl or be able to move themselves around safety gates should be used to stop them from falling down stairs or climbing up them. It is important to remember though that safety gates should be taken down when the youngest child reaches 24 months. From this age, you should begin to teach your toddler how to climb stairs. Young children should always be supervised while on the stairs.

Windows

Window restrictors are available to restrict the opening of a window and it is recommended that they do not open more that 100mm to prevent your child from falling out. It is also advisable to ensure that furniture is not placed under a window.

Child in a high chair
© NHS Health Scotland, 2011

Highchairs

Any child using a high chair should be strapped in with a five point harness. It only takes seconds for an unrestrained child to fall or slip out of a highchair. A five point harness should also be used in a buggy.

Bunk beds

Children under six years old should not use the top bunk. Children should be taught that beds are not to be played on to help reduce the chance of falling off.

Furniture

Tragically there have been deaths as a result of furniture and televisions falling onto young children. Children see items of furniture as the perfect compromise to a climbing frame however if they are not secured they can easily tip over when pushed or climbed on. Straps should be used to secure furniture and televisions to the wall.

In the garden

Play equipment in the garden should be on a soft surface such as on the grass or on woodchip. It should be checked regularly to ensure it is in good condition and safe to use. Trampolines are a great source of fun for children but children must be made aware that only one person at a time should be on the trampoline and a safety net should always be used.