It’s never easy for a teacher or school administrator to tell a parent that his/her child took a fall while at school; however, in the world of infants and toddlers it is an everyday occurrence. The statistics are staggering, but it is reassuring that it is completely appropriate and part of development.
In a study of 130 children conducted several years back, it was found that toddlers ages 12 months to 19 months fall an average of 17 times an hour. At the onset of walking, the number of falls increases to 69 times an hour. Thankfully, being so low to the ground and having such great flexibility makes these falls relatively easy to overcome.
Once the walking has become part of daily living, two year olds become much more confident and exhibit little fear. The result? An even greater number of falls. The average two year old falls 38 times per day. With time and practice, this number lessens. Pediatricians consider it within the norm to have children fall all the way up to age 4!
Why does this occur? There are several reasons. Due to the rapid rate of growth,children outgrow shoes quite quickly. If shoes are not fitted properly, this can be an issue. Additionally, sudden growth spurts means having to re-learn balance and finding a new center of gravity. Finally, most toddlers are farsighted, creating issues with depth perception. This may cause toddlers to overstep or misjudge distance.
To limit the number of injuries due to falls, be sure to check corners and furniture stability. Keep all cords, drawers, and appliances out of reach. Check the fit of all shoes, use non-slip socks or go barefoot in the home. Good traction equals good mobility. And . . . most importantly, try not to overreact. Strong reactions can create fear.
Remember the struggle to learn how to skate or ski. With practice and determination you were able to conquer the task; your little one will learn proficiency over time, too!