Every six minutes, a child younger than 5 is treated in a hospital emergency room for a stair-related injury, according to a study published today in the journal Pediatrics. Being carried on the stairs accounts for one in four stair injuries in babies under one year.
While stair injuries have declined in recent years thanks to public awareness efforts about the dangers of baby walkers plunging down stairs, child safety experts say that parents can take additional measures to reduce the rate of injuries.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends preventing fall injuries by installing sturdy stair rails and, if there are young kids in the house, safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. (Don’t use accordion types since a child’s head can get stuck in them.) Stairs should also be well lit and free of clutter to avoid tripping over objects. Keep stairs in good repair without loose floor boards or shifty carpet runners.
When carrying a child down the stairs, avoid multi-tasking or rushing, and pay attention to getting down safely. And remove loose flipflops that increase your likelihood of tripping.