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First Aid: Falls

Medically reviewed by: Melanie L. Pitone, MD

With all the running, climbing, and exploring kids do, it's no surprise that falls are common. Many falls cause only mild bumps, cuts, and bruises. But some can be serious and need immediate medical care.

First Aid

What to Do

Call 911 for emergency help and do not move your child if they:

  • may have seriously injured their head, neck, back, hipbones, or thighs
  • are unconscious
  • have trouble breathing
  • aren't breathing (start CPR if you know how to do so)
  • have a seizure

If your child isn't vomiting and doesn't have any of the symptoms above:

  • Comfort your child and look for any injuries.
  • Place a cold compress or ice pack on any bumps or bruises.
  • Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain if your child is alert.
  • Let your child rest, as needed, for the next few hours.
  • For the next 24 hours, watch your child closely for any unusual symptoms or behavior.

Get Medical Care If Your Child:

  • becomes very sleepy or is hard to wake up
  • is very fussy or upset and can't be comforted
  • vomits more than once
  • complains of head, neck, or back pain
  • complains of increasing pain anywhere
  • is not walking normally
  • does not seem to be focusing their eyes normally
  • has any behavior or symptoms that worry you

Think Prevention!

  • Never leave infants and young children on a bed or any other furniture unsupervised.
  • Never put an infant in a baby seat on top of a counter or other high surface.
  • Childproof against falls with gates and don't use walkers.
  • Use the safety straps when young kids are in high chairs, shopping carts, and strollers, or on changing tables.
  • Make sure kids always wear helmets when biking, skating, and using skateboards or scooters.
Medically reviewed by: Melanie L. Pitone, MD
Date reviewed: June 2022