Babysitting: Dealing With Falls

With all the running, climbing, and exploring kids do, it's not surprising that falls are common. Although many falls result in mild bumps, cuts, and bruises, some falls can cause serious injuries that require immediate medical attention.

Possible symptoms after a serious fall are:

  • difficulty breathing or not breathing
  • seizure
  • unconsciousness
  • head, neck, or back pain

What to Do

If a child had a serious fall:

  • Do not move the child. He or she might have a serious injury to the head, neck, back, hipbones, or thighs.
  • If the child stops breathing, call 911 or have someone else call.
  • Begin CPR immediately. If you are not trained in CPR, wait for emergency medical personnel.
  • Call the parents if the child has hit or injured the head in any way. They will want to watch the child closely for the next 24 hours for unusual symptoms or behavior.

If the child has a minor fall:

  • Comfort the child and check for injuries.
  • Place a cold compress or ice pack on any bumps or bruises.

To help prevent falls:

  • Supervise kids at all times.
  • Use safety straps for high chairs, changing tables, and strollers.
  • Require children to wear helmets and other safety gear while biking, skating, skateboarding, etc.

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: October 2010

Kids Health

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2016 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.