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First Aid: Falls

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD

With all the running, climbing, and exploring kids do, it's no surprise that falls are common. Although many result in mild bumps, cuts, and bruises, some can cause serious injuries that need immediate medical attention.

First Aid

What to Do

Call 911 for emergency help and do not move your child if he or she:

  • may have seriously injured the head, neck, back, hipbones, or thighs
  • is unconscious
  • has trouble breathing
  • isn't breathing (start CPR if you know how to do so)
  • has a seizure

If your child isn't vomiting and doesn't have any of the symptoms above:

  • Comfort your child and look for any injuries.
  • Place a cold compress or ice pack on any bumps or bruises.
  • Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain if your child is alert.
  • Let your child rest, as needed, for the next few hours.
  • Watch your child closely for the next 24 hours for any unusual symptoms or behavior.

Get Medical Care If Your Child:

  • becomes very sleepy or is difficult to wake up
  • becomes easily annoyed or upset and cannot be comforted
  • vomits more than once
  • complains of head, neck, or back pain
  • complains of increasing pain anywhere
  • is not walking normally
  • does not seem to be focusing his or her eyes normally
  • has any behavior or symptoms that worry you

Think Prevention!

  • Never leave infants and young children on a bed or any other furniture unsupervised.
  • Never put an infant in a baby seat on top of a counter or other high surface.
  • Childproof against falls with gates and don't use walkers.
  • Always strap young kids into high chairs, changing tables, shopping carts, and strollers.
  • Make sure kids always wear helmets when biking, skating, and using skateboards or scooters.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: June 2018