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New research on kids who fall on stairs

Consumer Alert

POSTED: Monday, March 12, 2012 - 8:00am

UPDATED: Monday, March 12, 2012 - 8:04am

Imagine the terror of looking down a long staircase and seeing your child lying motionless at the bottom.

Four year old Beck James suffered a concussion when he hit his head on a cement floor in his family's basement.

Hehad slipped after going up just a few steps.

"I could tell by the look in his eyes that he, that something wasn't right... That he was really hurt. It didn't take very long for them to realize that we needed to go to the hospital," said Kristin James, Beck's mother.

In fact, a child under age 5, like Beck, is rushed to the emergency room for a stair related injury every six minutes in the U.S.

The good news is that the number of such injuries has fallen over the past decade.

Experts attribute that in part to caregivers increasingly using stationary activity centers for young children, rather than baby walkers with wheels that can easily slide down stairs.

But a quarter of stair related injuries among young kids occur in babies who fall while being carried.

"Those children were three times more likely to be hospitalized because of their injuries," said Dr. Gary Smith of Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Experts recommend parents who must carry a baby up or down stairs have a firm grip on the railing and make sure the steps are clear of toys and other clutter.

Little Beck recovered from his concussion but his mother reminds other parents to be mindful, even with older children.

"You just don't think about it when you have a 4 year old or a 5 year old that they're gonna fall down the steps and really get hurt," said James.

The next step is for researchers to learn more about why such injuries are happening in hopes of keeping kids firmly and safely on the ground.

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