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Preventing injuries in children with reduced mobility

August 2012

This leaflet is intended for all individuals who are in close contact with a child with reduced mobility.

Children with reduced mobility are more likely to suffer injuries due to their vulnerability (poor balance, slower protection responses). The most frequently reported incidents and accidents occur :

  • When changing the child's position or placing them in their bed;
  • When equipment or technical aids are not being used properly;
  • When travelling or moving about;
  • When the child is left unsupervised.

Here is what you can do :

Plan position changes

  • Think of what would be the best way of going about this task before starting;
  • Seek the child's collaboration and forewarn them of your actions;
  • Establish a safe routine as not to forget any of the steps by repeating them in the same order;
  • Accept help or use a technical aid whenever possible;
  • Ensure your own safety.

Use technical aids appropriately when moving about

  • Do not modify a technical aid or remove any of its parts, especially its safety features;
  • Keep all equipement in good working order.

Control the environment

  • Make sure that circulation spaces are well lit and clear of any obstacles. Be vigilant of surfaces;
  • When outdoors, assess environmental conditions (outdoor temperature, ground surface condition);
  • Avoid loose-fitting or very long clothing as it can get caught or hinder vision;
  • Use all recommended aids appropriately, such as beth mats, support bars, handrails, etc.;
  • Be wary of swivel chairs;
  • Control the human and animal environment : avoid crowds; monitor the presence of any young children or animals.

Identify risks and ensure proper supervision

  • Identify behaviours in the child that may put them at risk of injury;
  • Respect the child's physical limitations;
  • If the child has poor balance, be sure to closely monitor them when they are sitting on the edge of a bed;
  • Identify the risks associated with a sport or recreational activity.

When, in spite of every precaution, an accident occurs :

If the child is conscious :

  • Seek help;
  • Comfort the child. Avoid scolding them;
  • Try to understand what happened. Ask the child if they are able to get up on their own or with the support of a nearby object (ex.: chair);
  • If the injury appears serious, call InfoSanté or dial 911 and do not move the child until the ambulance arrives.

If the child is unconscious :

  • Seek help immediately;
  • Call 911;
  • Do not move an unconscious child without help.

The impact of an injury is not negligible.

Not everything can be prevented. But remember :

  • Properly plan a change of position;
  • Use technical aids appropriately when moving about;
  • Control the environment;
  • Identify risks and ensure proper supervision;
  • If a situation requires immediate action or concerns you, seek help.

Taken from the leaflet titled, Preventing Injuries in Children with Reduced Mobility.

Document produced by :
Lucie Caron, Nurse
Sylvie D'Arcy, Physiotherapist, Clinical Coordinator
Neuromuscular Diseases Program

About this page
Updated on 3/20/2015
Created on 1/16/2015
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