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Get Back Up Again: Falling in Babies and Toddlers

Oct 14, 2022

Those first steps happen around 12 months of age, but along with walking comes tumbles, stumbles, and falls. Kids are just learning to balance and coordinate their bodies, so it makes sense that babies and toddlers would fall throughout the learning process. Falling can be a good thing as it teaches kids how to orient their bodies and get back up again. There’s a lesson of resilience to be taught, but parents should know about preventing major falls and what to do if a scary falling situation happens in the home.

Preventing Colossal Falls

Falling happens a lot in childhood. From learning to walk to kids testing boundaries, falling happens. From ages 0-19, falling is the most common non-fatal injury. There are going to be plenty of times when you can’t prevent a fall, but you’ll certainly want to make an extra effort to prevent the kind of falls that take you to the doctor or the ER. Preventing falls at home means “child-proofing” the home or at least all of the spaces in which your child resides. Put up baby gates that lead to any areas that pose risks such as stairs or rooms filled with many items like an office. No falling off that office spinning chair here! You can also keep items that your child may want within their reach instead of somewhere up high. Don’t go placing baby’s prized possessions on top of the fridge, for example. Trust us. They will attempt the journey! Here are some other common places where falls happen. Either avoid them or supervise like a hawk. 

  • High surfaces like changing tables or furniture
  • Open windows
  • Steps and stairs
  • Trip hazards like toys or cords
  • Slippery surfaces (if you just mopped for example)
  • Beds with no railing
  • Uneven and hard surfaces outside
  • Baby walkers
  • Tubs and pools


Hey, Falling Happens to the Best of Babies

Okay, so it does happen. Falling can happen over and over again when your child is first learning to walk. The best thing for you to do every time is remain calm (calmness is pretty contagious after all) and scope the situation out. 911 and ER-worthy symptoms include excessive bleeding, fractures, vomiting, memory loss, inability to move a body part, unresponsiveness, dizziness, non-stop crying, or abnormal changes to the head like a soft spot. Always reach out for help from your child’s pediatrician or local ER right away if you are unsure. Although crying is common in falling scenarios, you should still be able to comfort your little one. Ask them if they are okay, and if they are old enough, ask them if you can get anything for them like an ice pack. Take care of any minor injuries that are present, and then carry on with the activity if your child is feeling well enough. 


Hello, Mr. or Ms. Falls-A-Lot

While kids’ falling happens to babies and tots learning to walk, there are behaviors and conditions to look out for. Keep an eye out for toe-walking, flat feet, stiff legs, a preference to crawl over walk, inability to raise neck/back, and of course, frequent falls. If you’re concerned about how frequently your child falls down, it could be a sign of a condition or an issue with balance. Your child’s pediatrician can refer you to one of our physical therapy specialists to help improve any issues with walking that are present.


With questions, reach out to us today. We are happy to help! 

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