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Safety in the home


The staff of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is committed to excellence. An all-important part of attaining excellence is our commitment to you and your child’s safety. St. Jude wants you to know that certain situations and medical conditions can increase your child’s risk of injury in the home. The risk for injury in the home can increase because of your child’s growth and development, medicines, toileting needs, and use of different kinds of equipment. It is important for you to know these risks and to take action to prevent your child from being injured.

General safety needs

If your child is a St. Jude patient and you will be caring for him in your home, be sure to have running water, electricity, a refrigerator, and access to a telephone to call for help in an emergency.

Patients with an increased risk of falling

  • Those who have recently had a procedure that involved anesthesia or sedation (sleeping medicine)
  • Patients with a mental status change or those who have become less alert or have less feeling in their feet because of their illness or treatments (such as those with a disease of the brain or nervous system or those receiving treatments such as some chemotherapy or radiation)
  • Patients with a history of falling
  • Patients with seizure disorders
  • Patients who take certain medicines
  • Patients who have lost or gained weight over a short period of time
  • Patients who have problems walking such as those with stiff joints, tight muscles, or leg weakness, and those using canes, crutches, walkers, or wheelchairs

To learn more about preventing falls while at St. Jude see “Do You Know… Preventing Falls in Outpatient Areas” and “Do You Know… Preventing Falls.”

Taking precautions to prevent injuries

  • Provide help when your child is moving from a wheel chair to a chair, toilet, or bed.
  • Encourage your child to use crutches, a wheelchair, a walker, or a cane if physical therapy has provided these items.
  • Help your child get around if unsteady on his feet.
  • Have your child wear shoes, slippers, or socks that resist slipping when out of bed or walking. Keep eyeglasses within reach.
  • Avoid wearing shoes like Crocs® or flip-flops that tend to stick to the floor, causing people to trip over their own feet. Also, avoid wearing Heelys® (shoes with wheels).
  • Keep side rails up on infant’s crib when stepping away.
  • Do not allow your child to play, stand, or “ride” on rolling stools, chairs, or IV poles.
  • Make sure small, loose rugs have non-skid backing and are not placed in traffic areas of the home.
  • Electrical cords should be placed out of the flow of traffic and out from underneath rugs and furniture.
  • Stairs and hallways should be well lighted (a night light) and free of objects.
  • Remove or pad furniture or other items that have sharp edges.
  • Keep pet sleeping areas away from walking paths in the home.
  • Read all medical forms and make sure you are clear about your child’s medicines.
  • Ask the nurse, pharmacist, or doctor to review with you medicines that can increase the risk of falls.


If you have questions about safety concerns when caring for your child in your home, please talk to your social worker or the clinic staff caring for your child.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

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