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Child Safety

Keeping Your Young Baby Safe from Falls

​​​​​​​​​​Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospital admissions and emergency room visits for children under 6 months old in Alberta. Falls can lead to serious injuries. For example:

  • Amal, 3 months, fell off a counter while sitting in a bouncy chair. He ended up being admitted to the hospital with a concussion
  • Isabel, 2 months, fell from a change table and broke her leg when her father turned away for 1 second to get a diaper.

Falls can be prevented! Here are some quick tips to help prevent your baby from falls:

  • Actively supervise your baby when he or she is awake and not in a safe place, such as the crib or playpen.
  • Always have 1 hand on your baby whenever he or she’s on a high surface.
  • Use safety straps in strollers, baby seats, high chairs, change tables, and car seats.
  • Install baby gates on all stairs once your baby turns 4 months old. Use wall-mounted gates at the top of stairs. Do not use pressure gates at the top of the stairs.​

Your Baby’s Development and Falls

Babies can easily fall from furniture and other surfaces by kicking and wiggling. It can happen very fast—​even when you're in the same room and before you think your baby is able to move much.

Babies have large heads compared to their bodies—during a fall, a baby's head will often hit the ground first and take the impact.

Falls are all too common and can be serious​—​broken bones and head injuries can result.

All parents want to keep their older babies safe. Preventing injuries takes action. Do what you know is safe every time. Here’s more information on how to make safety your habit.

Protecting Your Baby From Falls

Furniture

  • Always stay with your baby when he or she is on a high place, such as a change table, bed, sofa or a counter.
  • Change diapers on the floor. If you have to put your baby on a high surface (a bed or change table), keep one hand on him or her the whole time.
  • Put car seats, baby chairs, and bassinets on the floor instead of on a counter, bed or sofa. Your baby could wiggle to the edge and fall, even when strapped in.

Stairs

When your baby starts to crawl around the house, it's important that he or she is protected from falling down the stairs.

  • Before your baby turns 6 months old, install a wall-mounted stair gate at the top of each stairwell.​ This is when most babies start to move around and begin the movements that will lead to crawling.
  • Don't use pressure gates (these stay in place using pressure) at the top of stairs. Your baby's weight could cause the gate to fall over when leaned on. Instead, use a gate that needs to be anchored to the wall or banister.
  • A gate at the bottom of the stairs is also recommended as your baby grows and starts to climb. You can use pressure gates at the bottom of the stairs.

Safety Straps

  • Use the safety straps in your stroller, high chair, change table, car seat, and baby seat. They help keep your baby in place and prevent falls.
  • Straps that go around your baby’s waist and through the legs are the safest type. Babies can slide through waist-only straps.
  • Safety straps don't replace supervision! Stay close to your baby, even when he or she is strapped in.

Supervision is the best prevention!

Being at your baby's side is the best way to prevent falls. If you need to leave for a moment when your baby is on a raised surface, move your baby to a safe place, such as a crib or playpen.

Adapted from Babies Don’t Bounce series

Current as of: March 5, 2018

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services