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Child Safety

Keeping Your Older Baby Safe from Falls

Falls are the leading cause of all injury-related hospital admissions in older babies. Falls can lead to serious injuries. For example:

  • Lee, age 6 months broke his leg after falling out of a shopping cart. He ended up being admitted to hospital.
  • Maeve, age 7 months fell backwards off a couch, onto a carpeted floor. She was hospitalized with a concussion.
  • Katie, age 11 months fell down some stairs. She was hospitalized for injuries, including a broken arm and a serious brain injury.
Falls can be prevented! Here are some quick tips to help prevent your baby from falls:
  • Actively supervise whenever your baby is awake.
  • Use stair gates to prevent falls.
  • Use safety straps to prevent falls from baby seats, strollers, high chairs, and shopping carts.

Your Older Baby’s Development and Falls

Babies do a lot of kicking and wiggling. This makes it easier for them to fall from furniture and other surfaces. And it can happen very fast—even when you’re in the same room.

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

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

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 Older Baby From Falls


  • Install sturdy, wall-mounted gates at the top of all stairs. Install a wall-mounted or a pressure gate at the bottom of all stairs. Don’t install a pressure gate at the top of the stairs. Your baby's weight could cause the gate to fall over when leaned on.

Baby’s Crib and Other Furniture

  • Make sure crib rails are locked in the highest position.
  • Move the crib mattress to the lowest point as soon as your baby can sit up.
  • Your child is ready for a toddler bed when he or she shows signs of being able to climb out of the crib.
  • Never leave your baby on a high surface such as a couch, change table, washing machine, or counter. If you need to leave, even if it's just for a "second", put your baby in a safe place like a crib or a playpen.

As your baby starts to walk, move furniture out of the way so that your toddler has a big, open area to walk in.

Safety Straps

  • Use safety straps (e.g. in your stroller, high chair, change table, car seat, or a shopping cart) as they help keep your baby in place. Safety straps are very important as your growing baby is learning to stand.
  • 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!

Preventing falls is a combination of active supervision and creating a safe environment. When your baby's awake he needs active supervision. This means that you're close by and paying attention all of the time.

Adapted from Babies Don’t Bounce series​​​

Current as of: March 9, 2018

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services