Falls

Trip and Fall Injuries

Trip and Fall Accidents

Trip and fall accidents may sound silly, but they commonly occur and can result in serious injury. The impact after tripping can be particularly painful because of the momentum that a person already has from walking or running. When an object obstructs a walking path, a person may catch the toe of his or her shoe, causing the individual to pitch forward and lose balance, hitting the ground with a considerable amount of force.

Trip and Fall Risks

Tripping accidents can occur anywhere. They commonly occur where walking traffic is present, such as in shopping malls, grocery stores, office hallways, schools, stairways, apartments, sidewalks, parks, restaurants, hotels, and airports. A person may trip over an object in the pathway, such as an item that has fallen from a shelf or was dropped. The obstruction could also be part of the walkway itself, such as a raised sidewalk edge or uneven stairs. Any of these could cause somebody to trip and fall and be injured. Obstructions sticking even 3/8″ higher than the rest of the walking surface can cause an accident.

Infants/Children Ages 14 and Under

In childhood falls can be an everyday occurrence. The most common causes of fall-related hospitalizations for children include: slipping or tripping, falling from playground equipment, falling from bed, and falling on or from stairs or steps.

Prevention Strategies

  • Use child safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs
  • Never leave an infant unattended on a table, bed or other elevated surface
  • Use safety straps to secure your child in strollers, shopping carts and infant carriers
  • Place your child in a stationary play-station rather than a mobile walker
  • Playground surfaces should consist of shredded rubber, fiber mulch, or fine sand and extend 12 inches deep and 6 feet around equipment to reduce the severity of falls.

Older Adults Ages 65 and Older

Fall-related injuries in older adults often lead to hospitalizations beginning the downward spiral that can result in long-term disability or death. Common injuries as a result of a fall include brain injuries, and fractures of the hip, vertebrae, and pelvis. Over 60% of falls that lead to hospitalizations occur in the home.

Prevention Strategies

  • Improve home safety by installing handrails on stairways and removing loose rugs or other clutter
  • Use ample lighting throughout the home, install illuminated light switches at the top and bottom of stairs, and night lights in the bathrooms
  • Use a step-stool and grab bar to reach objects on high shelves
  • Use non-slip bath mats in the shower and tub
  • Wear shoes with non-slip soles
  • Talk to your health care provider about gait, balance, and strength training