Young Kids Injured on Stairs - Consumer Justice Foundation

Young Kids Injured on Stairs

Written by Faith Anderson on March 12, 2012
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Stairs Should Be Equipped With Children’s Safety Products

One of the study’s authors suggested that it’s important for parents to supervise little kids when they’re on the stairs and to discourage them from using the stairs for games. He also indicated that changes in how staircases are designed might be required in order to minimize injury rates. “It is the exception to the rule that a home won’t have a young child living in it or visiting at some point,” said Smith. “We should build environments where we know children will live or visit so that they’re safe for children,” he continued. That includes built-in gates at both the top and bottom of stairs, as well as handrails that are easy to grip firmly, Smith said.

Children’s Injuries Caused by Dangerous Stairs

Researchers involved in the study used a collection of data from about 100 hospitals that reported descriptions of everyone who visited their emergency departments from 1999 through 2008, focusing on children under five. Based on the locations of hospitals and the people they treated, researchers used the sample to estimate how many young kids had a stair-related injury nationwide during that period. The study reported that, over the ten year period, about 47 out of every 10,000 young kids – or 93,000 altogether – were injured on the stairs every year, such as from tripping, riding a tricycle down the stairs, or being dropped by a parent on the stairs. The resulting injuries were commonly bruises, cuts or sprains, typically around the head or neck. About one in ten of the injured kids broke a bone in the accident, and less than three percent of all children had to be hospitalized.

Stairs Should be Designed With Child Safety in Mind

According to Sue, this information was consistent with with her own experience in the emergency department. “Fortunately, the vast majority of stair injuries are very mild,” she said. “They’re soft tissue injuries – bumps and bruises. I can’t remember the last time we had to hospitalize a child” who was injured on the stairs. Still, Sue pointed to the importance of keeping the stairs free of clutter and making sure young children are always supervised. However, says Smith, even the perfect parent can’t be watching their kids every second. He said that stairs should be built from the very beginning with kids’ safety in mind, with gates at the top and bottom that adults can remove if no little children live there or will be visiting. The stairs should also have thin railings that can be gripped firmly by small hands with stop stairs that aren’t so easy to trip on.

Posted Under: United States
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