As autumn begins, here are fall prevention tips for kids

Injuries on the playground account for almost 200,000 trips to the emergency room each year

In conjunction with the first day of fall today, Falls Prevention Awareness Week is a national health campaign observed to raise awareness about injuries due to falls.

Many injuries — and even deaths — in children can occur because of falls.

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Every year in the United States, about 2.2 million children under 15 are seen in emergency departments for injuries related to falls.

“You can see things as simple as little cuts and bumps and bruises, to broken bones to big head injuries,” said Dr. Neha Raukar, a Mayo Clinic emergency medicine physician.

About half of those injuries occur in toddlers, kids 4 and younger.

“If you think about kids and how they’re exploring their environment, it’s good to just be aware of what they’re doing,” Raukar said.

While falls can occur anywhere, windows and stairs are common causes of fall-related injury and death in young children. To keep your child safe, install window guards and stops. Keep windows locked and closed when not in use. And for those kids who like to climb, move furniture away from the windows, and use approved safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.

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As kids get older, injuries from falls outside the home, such as bicycling or on the playground, are more likely to occur. Falls on the playground account for almost 200,000 trips to the emergency room each year.

“When they’re outside playing on the playground, make sure that you have a nice soft surface for them to land off the monkey bars or off of a jungle gym,” Raukar said.

And when biking, skateboarding or other fun stuff, protect the head by wearing a helmet.

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