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JAMA Pediatr. 2015 Feb;169(2):145-53. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.2374.

Risk and protective factors for falls from furniture in young children: multicenter case-control study.

Author information

Division of Primary Care, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, England.
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals, National Health Service Foundation Trust, Norwich, England.
Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, England.
Child Accident Prevention Trust, London, England.
Centre for Child and Adolescent Health, Health, and Life Sciences, Department of Family and Child Health, University of the West of England, Bristol, England.



Falls from furniture are common in young children but there is little evidence on protective factors for these falls.


To estimate associations for risk and protective factors for falls from furniture in children aged 0 to 4 years.


Multicenter case-control study at hospitals, minor injury units, and general practices in and around 4 UK study centers. Recruitment commenced June 14, 2010, and ended April 27, 2012. Participants included 672 children with falls from furniture and 2648 control participants matched on age, sex, calendar time, and study center. Thirty-five percent of cases and 33% of control individuals agreed to participate. The mean age was 1.74 years for cases and 1.91 years for control participants. Fifty-four percent of cases and 56% of control participants were male. Exposures included safety practices, safety equipment use, and home hazards.


Falls from furniture occurring at the child's home resulting in attendance at an emergency department, minor injury unit, or hospital admission.


Compared with parents of control participants, parents of cases were significantly more likely not to use safety gates in the home (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.65; 95% CI, 1.29-2.12) and not to have taught their children rules about climbing on kitchen objects (AOR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.16-2.15). Cases aged 0 to 12 months were significantly more likely to have been left on raised surfaces (AOR, 5.62; 95% CI, 3.62-8.72), had their diapers changed on raised surfaces (AOR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.24-2.88), and been put in car/bouncing seats on raised surfaces (AOR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.29-3.27). Cases 3 years and older were significantly more likely to have played or climbed on furniture (AOR, 9.25; 95% CI, 1.22-70.07). Cases were significantly less likely to have played or climbed on garden furniture (AOR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.56-0.97).


If estimated associations are causal, some falls from furniture may be prevented by incorporating advice into child health contacts, personal child health records, and home safety assessments about use of safety gates; not leaving children, changing diapers, or putting children in car/bouncing seats on raised surfaces; allowing children to play or climb on furniture; and teaching children safety rules about climbing on objects.

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