Yes! People of All Ages Can Get Hurt in Stair Falls
Most of us assume that a majority of slips and falls on staircases affect the elderly more than individuals in other age groups. However, according to a recent report in Reuters Health, a new study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine indicates that “more than 1 million Americans injure themselves on stairs each year,” and “all ages show up in emergency departments for sprains, strains, bumps, and fractures.” At the same time, some groups do sustain fall-related injuries more frequently than others, such as older adults above the age of 85 and young children under the age of 3.
While certain groups may report more injuries than others, the key takeaway is this: No one is safe from a stairway fall. The study was conducted by researchers at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. According to Dr. Gary Smith, the senior author of the study, “stairs are a common source of injury among all ages, and the frequency and rate of stair-related injuries are increasing.” More people are getting hurt on staircases than previously reported.
Why are stairs such a problem? About 50% of all American homes contain stairs, but that fact in and of itself cannot account entirely for an increase in stair accidents. Smith suggests that stair design and construction may have shifted and that we are not taking as many fall-prevention tactics as we should.
Getting the Facts About Staircase Falls
The authors of the study cite the following facts and figures about staircase falls and related injuries:
- Approximately 3,000 serious staircase accidents requiring treatment in an emergency department every day in the U.S.;
- Between 1996-2012, staircase injuries rose by about 24%;
- More than 60% of staircase injuries occur at the home of the injury victim;
- Around 6% of injury victims who visit emergency departments have sustained concussions in stairway falls;
- About 23% of injury victims report that they tripped, slipped, or mis-stepped; and
- Around 60% of injury victims could not identify a cause for their staircase accident.
What are the most common injuries in stair-related accidents? The study cites the following:
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs);
- Bruises; and
- Broken bones.
Younger children tend to sustain head injuries more often than other staircase accident victims, while older patients are more likely to sustain a debilitating fracture. Do you have questions about filing a personal injury claim for a stair-related accident? Contact a premises liability lawyer to determine your rights.