Why is my child falling down so much?
When to be concerned about your child’s falling
As you watch your little one walking or running during play, you may ask yourself, “Is my child falling too much?”
Children initially begin to walk between the ages of 12 and 15 months. In the early stages of walking, you may notice your child “waddling” with their feet wide and their arms out like an airplane. Once a child has become more comfortable with walking, you may notice them becoming “brave” and attempting to walk fast or even run. As a child goes through these stages of development, you may find your him or her falling several times during the day.
It’s normal for children to fall frequently as they are learning to walk. In the early stages of walking/running, a child is learning to plan movements, find their balance and explore new-found independence.
As children gain more control of their body, you will find they begin to walk with a narrower base and their arms are at their side. A child will walk/run with decreased hesitance and you should notice less falls. This will occur within the first 2-3 years of learning to walk.
When should you be concerned about your child’s falling? There are many different reasons why children lose their balance throughout the day.
- Pay attention to when your child is falling and ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Did the type of shoe he or she is wearing change? Often times children have difficulty finding their foot placement with new shoes, especially ones that are heavy (such as a boot) or non-supportive (such as a sandal or slip-on shoe.
- Are they only falling when reaching a curb or changing surfaces? Sometimes vision can play a big role in a child’s ability to maintain balance with walking and running. If you suspect a visual deficit, you should contact an eye care specialist.
- Does your child only fall when playing with peers their age? Children have to think constantly about their next move when walking/running during play. You may find that they will trip or fall when attempting to keep up with peers their age. This could be the cause of decreased coordination, meaning they are having a difficult time organizing movements during play, causing them to fall.
- Try to pay attention to how your child is falling, sometimes a child may have a difficult time clearing their toes when walking/running and will fall. This would be good to mention to your pediatrician for possible referral to a physical therapist.
If your child is falling more than 10 times per day and doesn’t fit into the above categories, it may be beneficial to talk to your pediatrician about a physical therapy evaluation to assess your child’s needs.
About the author
Morgan Hubbard, PT, DPT, is a physical therapist at Cook Children's. Physical therapy at Cook Children's focuses on large motor and functional skils to enhance development, restore function and prevent disability from pediatric conditions, illness or injury. Cook Children's has Rehabilition Services in locations in Fort Worth, Hurst and most recently in Mansfield. If you would like to schedule an appointment or speak to our staff, please call 682-885-4063.