Physical Therapist (And Mom) Coaches Baby How To Safely ‘Fall’ Off Furniture––All Parents Should See This
From the moment we find out we’re pregnant, the safety and well-being of our child is at the forefront of our mind. We avoid unpasteurized cheese, we count baby kicks, we take our prenatal vitamins. Once baby enters the world outside our uterus, we take them for constant checkups at the doctor, we make sure to put them down on their backs with nothing in the crib, and we invest in the best car seats and high chairs and baby swings, reading every recall and safety notice we can find.
We do everything possible to keep our babies safe because, well, they’re everything to us. And we live in a constant state of worry. What if they choke? What if they’re allergic to something and have a reaction? What if a blanket accidentally covers their face? What if they get sick? What if they get hurt?
And one of the biggest worries is this: What if they fall? Well, according to Cleveland Clinic, that’s a legit fear, especially for parents of babies.
“Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in kids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Cleveland Clinic reports. “In children under age 1, falls account for over 50% of nonfatal injuries.”
This article goes on to explain that most of the time, children are not severely injured. “But infants under 12 months of age have more fragile skulls, which makes falls more risky for them,” says Ei Ye Mon, MD.
That’s why we love this IG video from @milestones.and.motherhood, an account run by a physical therapist named KC. In her post, she encourages parents to teach their babies—like their itty bitty babies—how to safely get off furniture. Because the fear of them falling, even from a couple feet, is a huge worry as a bad fall can do some major damage to their tiny bodies and still-developing skull.
The thing that stands out about this video is that KC, a mom of three kids under four, is working with her baby at a very young age—only a few months old! Most parents probably wait until their little ones are a lot older to start teaching them how to climb down from things. But this video proves that, as it turns out, we can start these lessons much earlier. And we should because inevitably, our babies will be sitting on the couch or a chair and could potentially fall off at any time. We want to believe we’re doing everything we can to keep them safe, but as parents know, it only takes five seconds of turning our heads to give our kids enough time to get hurt.
“I know stairs & furniture safety can be intimidating,” her post reads. “We often avoid it because the worry of an accident can be so overwhelming. But what if, instead, we started teaching our babies the safe way as soon as they’re mobile? I promise, they will get it, & it’ll be one less thing for us to worry about as parents! Because don’t we have enough as it is. 🥴”
The concept is actually pretty simple and similar to what many parents teach their older babies about stairs.
“As soon as your little one is on the move, teach them to flip to their bellies and slide down off furniture,” KC explains. “You can apply this to the stairs too, if it works for you!”
And, she adds this important part: “Repeat repeat repeat, you’ll be doing the majority of the work at first, but I promise, before you know it- they’ll have that safety skill nailed down!”
Babies are not going to know how to do this on the first, second, or possibly even 10th try. But with repetition, they’ll get there and be safer as a result.
In fact, this video specifically shows that it takes commitment and consistency, and most of all patience, to get to a point where baby can independently and safely get off of furniture. KC starts when her baby is six months old and explains that her child is “totally dependent” on her at this point for safety. But by 11 months old, that same child “almost has it nailed down.” While she needs to supervise, it’s clear that her baby knows what to do to get down in a safe way.
When we asked KC what makes her so passionate about sharing safety tricks and other helpful tools for parents on her IG, she explained to Scary Mommy that in her area of the country (and in many others as well), there is a huge shortage of pediatric therapists. As a result, parents are often on waiting lists and are unable to see a professional as often and for as long as they wish they could, and they feel helpless while they wait.
As a therapist herself, KC wanted to use her IG to “help parents feel empowered and educated on how to help their little ones be as successful as possible.”
And, she goes on to say that her mission is to “bring awareness that children can learn how to be safe while exploring their environment. I think sometimes as parents we shy away from teaching furniture safety or stair safety because we hope that we will always be able to be right there and help them, but the reality is that unfortunate things happen—an older sibling may leave a baby gate open, a child gets onto the couch quickly before you can get to them. Teaching them how to manage those situations can be huge.”
Obviously, parents must also take other essential safety steps to ensure their babies and toddlers are safe. Anchoring their furniture to the wall—particularly dressers, etc.—is absolutely crucial as just like kids like climbing on the couch, they’re also likely to climb up dresser drawers. KidsHealth.org says parents should regularly brush up on their knowledge of CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. And, Cleveland Clinic adds, after a fall, any of these symptoms could mean serious injury and warrant a 911 call for help:
- Loss of consciousness.
- Discharge or blood coming out of the nose or ears.
- Swelling of the soft spot.
- Bruising or swelling along the head, or obvious skull fracture.
But hopefully, if your baby know how to safely climb down off of furniture, they’ll be able to avoid these scary signs of injury.
In the end, we all want the same thing—for our kids to be healthy and safe and live long, fulfilled lives. Teaching our babies—from a very young age—how to safely maneuver around our homes is one way to do just that.