The number of young children seriously hurt by stair-related injuries is decreasing, but falling down the stairs continues to be a common source of injury in children. The study, "Stair-Related Injuries to Young Children Treated in U.S. Emergency Departments, 1999-2008," in the April 2012 Pediatrics (published online March 12), is the first nationally representative review in the United States of stair-related injuries to children.
Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System found that 931,886 children younger than 5 years were treated in the emergency department for a stair-related injury from 1999 to 2008. Approximately one-quarter of the injuries among children less than 1 year of age occurred when they were being carried on the stairs by a parent or caretaker. These children were three times more likely to be hospitalized as a result of their injury. Suggestions for making stairs safer include installing stair gates at the top and bottom of stairs, keeping stairs clutter-free and in good repair, and installing and using stair railings. Study authors conclude that increased prevention efforts, including improved stairway design, are needed to minimize stair-related injuries.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. (www.aap.org)