Half of the estimated 328,500 infants 12 months of age or younger who were treated for injuries in hospital emergency departments each year from 2001 to 2004 were injured as a result of a fall, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The first national estimate of infant injury by month of age was published in the May 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics journal, Pediatrics.
Falls were the leading cause of injury for every month during the first year of life. Because the first year of a baby’s life is a time of rapid developmental change, every month brings different injury risks as mobility develops. CDC researchers indicate that each stage of infant development, such as whether a child is crawling or walking, plays a large role in types of injuries.
"Common sense tells us, and research confirms, that injuries among infants take a significant toll," said Ileana Arias, Ph.D., director of CDC’s Injury Center. "As children develop — in infancy and throughout childhood — protective factors such as home safety measures and close parental supervision are critical in helping to prevent injuries."
A crucial factor is the child’s developing mobility. Stair-related injuries are an example, leading to treatment for an estimated 5,500 12-month-olds but only 800 1-month-olds.
“When parents are aware of first-year motor milestones and their associated injury risks, they can be better prepared to help predict and prevent their infants from being injured," said Julie Gilchrist, M.D., an author on the study and medical epidemiologist in CDC′s Injury Center.
(Source: Pediatrics: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: May 2008)