Preventing Falls

Injury Prevention & Safety, Information for Health Professionals

As the leading cause of injury, falls are a significant public health issue across age groups and settings in Alberta. In 2017, 154,004 Albertans visited emergency and urgent care and 17,489 Albertans were hospitalized due to a fall. Falls can happen at home, at school, in recreation and leisure, in sports, in the community, at work and even on vacation.

The good news is we have the ability to prevent most falls at any age. Knowledge, tools and resources are available to support us in falls prevention.

Young Children – Key Messages

Physical activity is critical for a child’s development. Falls prevention strategies are not meant to take away physical activity opportunities, but rather to create a safe environment in which physical activity can take place.

Keep your child safe at all stages of development – Falls are the leading cause of visits to the emergency room and hospitalization. For young children many falls occur in the home. As a health provider, it’s important to understand hazards that cause falls and how to advise parents to prevent them. As a child grows, remind parents that fall prevention strategies will need to reflect their child’s stage of development. Refer to the following resources:

School-aged Children – Key Messages

Activity is an important part of a child’s development. School-aged children will participate in a variety of settings where injuries can occur. Children 5-9 tend to be injured on the playground while children 10-12 tend to be injured during recreation activities. As a health provider you have the opportunity to help parents/caregivers to reduce hazards in their child’s environment to reduce or prevent serious injuries.

Encourage parents to watch for hazards on the Playground. The Playground Safety YES Test: Checklist outlines hazards that parents should be aware of to help prevent playground injuries.

Inform parents of the dangers of recreation activities that can cause serious injuries. Trampolines should not be used for recreational purposes at home (including cottages and temporary summer residences) by children or adolescents.

Older Adults – Key Messages

While the risk of falls do increase as people age, falls are not considered a normal part of aging. There are actions that can be taken to help older adults avoid falls and stay active and independent. Use the following key messages and supporting tips and tools to help older adults reduce their risk of falling.

Keep Active – Encourage the older adults you work with to keep active to maintain strength and balance.

Check Your Vision - Encourage older adults to have a complete annual eye exam

  • Encourage older adults to give their eyes time to adjust to light and to pay attention to their surroundings to help prevent falls. Visit Make the Most of Your Vision (
  • Changes to vision may increase the risk of falling. Remind older adults that Alberta Health Care covers the cost of an annual eye exam for adults aged 65 and older. Some seniors may also be eligible for limited reimbursement for prescription eyeglasses. See Vision Care for Seniors (Alberta Association of Optometrists)
  • Print and distribute the information sheet - Check your Vision (Finding Balance)

Review Your Medications – Encourage the older adults that you work with to review their medications annually with their doctor or pharmacist.

  • Encourage older adults to ask to learn about side effects, interactions, and proper dosing when starting a new medication by asking questions. Print and distribute New Medicines: Questions to Ask the Doctor (
  • Some medications can increase the risk of falling. Print and distribute the information sheet - Review Your Medications
  • Encourage older adults to have at home and in their wallet, a Master List of Medicines(
  • Encourage older adults to speak with their doctor if they experience dizziness and learn about managing blood pressure by reviewing Manage Your Blood Pressure (