Fall Prevention Infographic
Reducing Risks to Avoid Injury
Updated February 2023
Each year, nearly 29% of adults aged 65 or older experience a fall.
Although often associated with older age, slips, trips and falls aren't just reserved for older adults. In fact, falls are also a leading cause of injury for kids ages 0 to 19. With this in mind, preventive measures are important at any age.
Infants and Toddlers
Little ones are interested in discovering their world, but their curiosity may lead to unsafe adventures. To prevent falls at this age, effective safety measures include:
- Install locked gates at the top and bottom of stairways.
- Never leave children unattended on balconies, near open windows or on furniture.
- Install safety rails on beds for toddlers and young children.
Active supervision is key, whether at home or at play.
Adolescents and Teens
Even though they may be more coordinated than infants and toddlers, adolescents and teens are prone to falling. Adolescents and teens are most likely to fall during sports or physical activities such as skiing, skateboarding or sports involving skates. Falls are also a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Make sure to look for signs of a concussion after a fall.
Since teens may be more prone to taking risks as they get older, encourage them to follow certain safety precautions, such as:
- Keeping music or game volume turned down. This way, they can stay aware of what is going on around them, helping them avoid surprises or stumbles.
- Wearing a helmet when riding a bike, skateboard or skates. This will help protect their head and brain during a fall.
Tripping, stumbling or slipping are major causes of falls for adults, so be aware of unsafe surfaces, icy conditions, uneven surfaces and indoor hazards. Alcohol, which impairs motor skills, can also be a risk factor — more than 85% of adults drink alcohol at some point in their life.
One proactive measure is to strengthen your core: Yoga and other types of exercise can help improve your balance and stability, which helps prevent falls and injuries.
Environmental factors are especially important for this age group. Some general guidance from Carson Becker, OTR/L, CBIS, a certified brain injury specialist and occupational therapy coordinator with Northwestern Medicine Rehabilitation Services, includes:
- Remove risks from the home. Pay special attention to clutter, cords and other unsecure surfaces.
- Provide walking aids. You may explore assistive devices in the bathroom, hand rails and even a safety evaluation by your care team.
- Talk to a clinician about effects of medication. Some medications may contribute to falls, such as anticonvulsants, antidepressants, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, opioids and sedatives.
Here are other ways of preventing falls at any age.