Objectives—To assess the severity of injuries due to falls from upper bunks and lower beds and cots, and to ascertain the age group most at risk of such injuries.
Setting—The accident and emergency (A&E) department in the Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital which has the only paediatric A&E department in the north east of Scotland, serving a catchment area of over half a million people.
Methods—All children attending with an injury sustained due to a fall from a bed or top bunk over five months had their case notes reviewed by the author.
Results—Eighty five children were identified, a majority of whom were reported to have fallen out of bed while sleeping. Twenty five sustained a fracture, 27 a head injury, 12 a laceration requiring treatment, and 21 sustained a soft tissue injury to a limb. Fourteen (16%) required admission. Sixty six (78%) of the injuries occurred in children under the age of 6 years.
Conclusion—These results show a higher incidence of significant injury than previously reported, and demonstrate the inadvisability of letting children under the age of 6 years sleep in upper bunks. In an attempt to make parents more aware of the risks it is recommended that these dangers should be brought to public attention.
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