There is a dangerous location in homes and day care centers that may not be so obvious. The location involves soft furniture like a sofa or bed. An infant or toddler left on a bed or sofa can suffer a fall, which can result in head injuries, extremity injuries and other injuries. The statistics from such injuries are quite alarming. Unfortunately, many parents, babysitters, and child care providers do not recognize the dangers of a fall from soft furniture until there is an injury or incident.
Newly released statistics demonstrate that falls from seemingly safe, soft furniture—like couches and beds—have now become the number one cause of injury for children ages four and under in the United States. Falls from soft furniture also present the leading cause of trauma for infants in the United States. These statistics, originally presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics’ annual conference this year, come from an aggregation of data from emergency rooms over the past decade. Analysis of these statistics reveals that injuries from soft furniture falls occur at more than double the rate of the second leading cause of injury to children younger than five years old—stairs. Analysis also indicates that boys tend to sustain these injuries more frequently than girls and that younger children present a greater risk of injury than older children.
Despite these alarming statistics, precautions can help reduce the rates of these injuries. Kids Health, a division of Nemours Children’s Hospital, recommends various techniques to reduce the likelihood of a child sustaining injuries from beds and sofas. These recommendations include: never leaving children unattended on soft furniture, removing children from soft furniture if one must leave for even a moment, holding children while on soft furniture if one uses a phone or another object that may distract from complete supervision, implementing bed rails, and teaching children how to properly climb on and off of soft furniture safely once they reach an appropriate age to learn this. Adults should also learn CPR and keep a first aid kit handy, just in case a child falls and sustains injuries. See Falls from Soft Furniture – Safety Precautions.
Unfortunately, even when parents take precautions, injuries from soft furniture falls may still occur. In the event that children sustain injuries of this nature at their daycares or child care providers’ home, parents may be able to bring a cause of action, in order to receive financial compensation for their child’s injuries through a damages award. Because day cares owe their charges a duty of care, injuries to children that occurred because a day care breached this duty of care will likely result in the ability to sustain a cause of action. However, not all injuries necessarily occur from breaches of duties of care, so parents of a child who sustains injuries from soft furniture falls or in daycare centers should consult an experienced Child Injury Attorney for legal advice specific to the facts of their situation.
David Wolf is a personal injury and child injury attorney with over 28 years of experience. He is the author of 12 personal injury books and over 4,000 articles that focus on personal injury and safety issues.