Objective To study the epidemiology of paediatric falls in Singapore to determine possible risk factors so that public education may be appropriately targeted and effective preventive strategies may be implemented.
Methods 10,907 children, aged 0–16 years, who attended the Emergency Departments in the Singapore Health Services network for fall-related injuries from Feb 2002 to Jan 2004, were surveyed as part of the Childhood Injury Surveillance Project. Data on demographics, place of injury, host factors, environmental factors and injury particulars were collected via the use of questionnaire forms, review of in-patient records and coroner’s reports.
Results There were 10,907 fall-related visits during the study period with 4 deaths. 62.3% of the patients were male and the median age of the victims was 5.9 years. Other than falls caused by self (18%), the most common cause of falls were falls from an adult bed (11.8%) and on a slippery surface (8.8%). 5591 falls (51.2%) were falls from a height. 883 children (8%) fell from a height of more than 1 m. 10.3% of the children required hospital admission with 19 (0.17%) requiring admission to ICU or high dependency. Of those who required hospital admission, 553 (49.2%) had a head injury and 230 (20.5%) had an upper limb fracture.
Conclusions Falls are one of the most common causes of injuries in children and are responsible for a significant number of emergency department visits. The injuries caused can be serious and we need to implement injury prevention strategies to reduce unnecessary falls.