At risk for fun and falls when grandparents and grandchildren visit

By Marguerite Oberle Thomas

Risks are part of what makes life exciting and fun, but it is important that our risks are smart risks when grandparents and grandchildren visit, play, walk, explore and enjoy doing physical activities together.

Considerations for when grandparents and grandchildren visit

  • Excitement – Both grandparents and grandchildren are excited to be together and it is important not to let the excitement lead to ignoring basic safety.
  • Fatigue – Grandparents can find grandchild visiting both exhilarating and exhausting. Grandchildren may have their usual nap times disrupted. Stick to the routines as much as possible.
  • Clutter – Visiting clutter can range from shoes in the entrance way to toys on the floor to Grandma’s purse or Grandpa’s cane – all of these may not be the everyday clutter and add extra trip hazards.
  • Childproofing – Gates at the top or bottom of stairwells are a good thing, but often not part of the grandparent’s everyday household. Become familiar with the new devices as they can be awkward until you learn how they all work.
  • Stairs – Stairs are well known hazard. Stairs that have smooth carpeting, busy patterns, or are all one colour are difficult to see. A strip painted at the edge of the stair, or change of level on a deck, enables it to be more readily seen.
  • Lighting – Night lights, bathroom lights, illumination on stairways and hallways help all generations to negotiate their way at night.
  • Unfamiliar territory –New environments can have different levels, different styles of walkway and objects that are not our everyday experience. Experience it slowly, not hurrying.

It is one of life’s great rewards to have fun with the grandchildren. Love every moment of it, knowing that you have done your best to keep everyone safe and happy.

Adapted with permission from an article originally published in the Huron/Perth Boomers Magazine.

Marguerite Oberle Thomas RN., BSc. is the consultant-liaison for the Fall Prevention Community of Practice  sponsored by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation


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