As the leading cause of injury, falls are a significant public health issue across age groups and settings in Alberta. In 2019, 161,539 Albertans visited emergency and urgent care and 18,702 Albertans were hospitalized due to a fall. Falls happen at home, school, in recreation and leisure, sports, in the community, 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 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/UCC and hospitalization. Most falls occur at 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:
Physical 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.
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 does 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 their 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.