ACEP: Most ER visits result from falls

October 21, 2010

Unintentional falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits, the American College of Emergency Physicians said this week. Nearly 9 million visits for fall-related injuries occur each year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The two highest-risk age groups are children younger than 5 and adults older than 70.

To prevent unintentional falls, Dallas-based ACEP recommends:

  • Remove clutter, particularly from walkways and stairs.
  • Use night lights in bedrooms, halls and bathrooms.
  • Consider a handgrip in bathrooms and showers.
  • Remove throw rugs and tack down other rugs to reduce tripping hazards.
  • Be sure the bottom of the tub has a non-slip surface.
  • Wear helmets and other protective gear when biking, motorcycling or playing contact sports.
  • Inspect playground equipment to make sure it is age appropriate and in good condition.
  • Teach children to use handrails on the stairs and be certain their shoes are tied.
  • Set up locking gates near staircases to prevent access by younger children.
  • Install window guards with an emergency quick-release mechanism.