Objective. To determine the likelihood of injuries occurring to infants and children who fall out of bed.
Methods. A review of hospital records where children were documented to have fallen from a crib or bed and where the children were immediately assessed and examined following the fall.
Patients. Two hundred seven children younger than 6 years of age. One hundred twenty-four falls were from cribs and 83 from beds. The heights of the falls were 25 inches from beds or 41 inches when the child climbed over the bed rails and then fell, and 32 inches from cribs or 54 inches for those who fell after climbing the crib rails.
Results. There were 29 superficial injuries such as contusions or minor lacerations. One simple skull fracture was noted incidentally on skull roentgenogram and there was one fractured clavicle. There were no serious, multiple, visceral, or life-threatening injuries. Calculation of the momentum of impact between the injured and noninjured showed no significant difference.
Conclusions. Because falls from short distances are unlikely to produce serious injury, the reliability of the history should be questioned when a child has significant injuries said to have resulted from a short fall.