Although falls are associated often with seniors, falls can happen at any age and can be caused by a variety of factors.

Statistics

  • In Alberta, 2010:
    • 14,848 people were hospitalized due to a fall, accounting for 48%of all injury-related hospital admission in Alberta.
    • There were 110,219 emergency department visits due to falls in Alberta, which accounted for 28.5% of all injury-related emergency department visits.
    • There were 185 fall-related deaths.
    • It is estimated that falls cost $1,154 million in Alberta, equating to $309 per capita.
  • Falls account for 15% of workplace fatalities (fatalities that occur at work or as a result of injuries sustained while at work)

Prevention Messages

  • Stop falls in babies and children:
    • Babies’ heads are large compared to the rest of their bodies. This makes them more likely to fall. Because babies wiggle, kick and then roll, they can fall from high places.
    • Keep on hand on your baby when they’re on the change table or other furniture.
    • Place car seats, carriers and rocker on the floor.
    • Always use the crotch safety straps when your child is in a swing, highchair, shopping cart or stroller.
    • Install wall-mounted gates at the top and bottom of stairs. When your child is two years old, teach and practice with them to walk up and down stairs.
    • Place cribs and other furniture away from windows and balconies. Install window guards.
    • Only let children 6 years of age or older on the top bunk bed. Put carpet under the bunk bed.
  • Keep your children safe from falls outside:
    • Children can fall from bikes. Make sure they wear a helmet. It's the law for anyone under 18 years-old.
  • Keep your children safe at the playground:
    • Look for deep, soft surfacing like sand or woodchips.
    • For high places, look for handrails, barriers or railings.
    • Stay close to your child and teach playground safety rules.
  • Prevent falls around the house:
    • Keep pathways, halls and stairways well lit and free of clutter.
    • Use handrails when going up or down stairs.
    • Watch out for ice, cracks and uneven surfaces while walking. When walking on ice, take small, slow steps, keep your head up and do not lean forward. Keep your hands out of your pockets to help keep your balance. For tips on walking outside, learn how to walk like a penguin.
    • When using a ladder, stand it on flat ground. Keep off the highest two steps of the ladder. Do not reach to the side or push or pull anything while on the ladder.
    • Follow Canada’s Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines
  • Anyone can fall, but as you age you are more likely to fall. To prevent falls:
    • Have your doctor or pharmacist look at all medications that you are taking every year.
      • This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter pills, vitamins and herbal supplements.
    • Keep active for strength and balance. Do at least 30 minutes of activity every day.
    • Watch your step wherever you are. Wear shoes that support your feet. Have your eyes checked every year. Avoid rushing and doing too many things at once.
    • Speak up about dizziness. Tell your doctor if you often feel dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Keep sports fun and prevent falls:
    • Get trained for your sport. Learn and practice simple skills before trying more difficult moves.
    • Avoid aggressive play or stunting.
    • Do not use alcohol or drugs before or during your activity.
    • Wear the right helmet for the sport. Also, make sure the helmet is worn correctly.
  • Prevent falls in the workplace:
    • Watch for workplace hazards that can cause slips, trips or falls. Keep workplaces free of hazards.
    • Wmployers and worker must ensure a fall protection systems is used if:
      • A worker could fall three metres or more
      • A worker could fall less than three metres and there is a possibility of injury

    Positions Statements

    Baby Walkers

    The Injury Prevention Centre (IPC) finds baby walkers to be inherently dangerous products for which the advertisement, sale and importation to Canada should continue to be banned. The products are designed to given infants increased mobility. It is this increased mobility which represents the hazard. The mobility of a baby walker puts infants at risk of falls down stairs and increases their reach allowing them to touch dangerous objects or to pull objects down onto themselves. A baby walker can allow a child to move at a rate of one meter per second (Lang-Runtz, 1983), outpacing even the most vigilant and agile caregiver. The injuries children face from the use of baby walkers include head injuries and trauma to the abdomen or limbs from falls. Scalds, burns and impact injuries result from children pulling items such as hot liquids, clothes irons, lamps, televisions and other heavy household items down onto themselves. The increased reach provided by a walker results in choking from the ingestion of small items not otherwise within reach or in poisoning. Children using walkers face increased risks of finger entrapments and collisions with sharp corners of furniture (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2001).

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