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