Stairs Remain High Risk for Young Children

03.14.12 New study shows that a child is injured every six minutes in a stairs-related accident in the U.S.


As a mom-to-be, you may not be thinking about babyproofing just yet. But experts say that baby safety should start on Day One. And at that top of your safety list should be stairs. According to new study in journal Pediatrics, one child every six minutes suffers a stairs-related injury in the U.S. on average in a year, The New York Times reports.

"In a flash, I heard the tumble: thunk, thunk, thunk," said an Ohio mom, as quoted in the Times article as she described the day her 6-month-old son fell after crawling away from his sister. And it happens in seconds. The study's authors say that parents need to do more to make homes safer to children, The New York Times reports. The Pediatrics study found that between 1999 and 2008, the number of stairs-related injuries to children 5 and younger declined but still accounted for more than 93,000 emergency room visits per year.

Researchers also cite the fact that the majority of staircases in today's homes are not designed with an eye toward child safety. Most can't accommodate wall-mounted gates and pressurized gates, the study says.

"Children under 5 spend most of their time in the home, and even the best parent in the world can't watch their child 100 percent of the time. It just simply isn't possible," says Dr. Gary Smith, the study's lead author and researcher at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, as quoted in the Times report.

Check out our Keep Your Baby Safe page for a timeline to protecting your little one as he or she develops.

Plus, with spring and summer approaching, now is the time to start thinking about babyproofing your backyard. You'll want your baby to enjoy the sights and sounds and fresh air that the great outdoors has to offer—but safely!

—Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.