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Prevention of Home Accident in Children

February 2, 2016

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PREFACE

Accidents are main cause of injury and even death in children. People only relate accidents to traffic accident or accidents in outdoor activities. However, as a matter of fact, the place where people regard as the safest place – home, hides many “hazards”. The main cause of home accident is general negligence.

 

FALL

Cause:

Unstable gait of the toddler, presence of objects on floor, lack of supervision, or curiosity of the children.

Prevention:

  • Keep floors free of toys and obstructions.
  • Exercise close supervision when toddler learns to walk.
  • Never leave babies unattended on raised surfaces.
  • Check constantly floor surface for wear and tear.
  • Keep floor dry.
  • Always ensure bed-rail of the baby cot is raised when the baby is in the cot.
  • Always use a securely fitted safety harness in a pram, pushchair or highchair.
  • Windows and doors must be locked to avoid misadventure by children.
  • Avoid placing “stepping-stones” such as a chair next to a window.
  • Take extra care to avoid side-turning of a baby chair.

First Aid:

  1. Don’t panic. Call for help if necessary.
  2. Check the level of consciousness of the infant/child.
  3. Examine the child if airway is clear (e.g. can talk, cry or not); if breathing is adequate and circulation is normal (observe color of the face, depth and rate of breathing).
  4. If breathing and circulation are normal, check for any other injuries on the body.
  5. If bleeding occurs, ensure there is no foreign body in the wound. Apply direct pressure to stop bleeding by covering a clean gauze on it and add pressure on the gauze by your hand. Elevate the injured limb.
  6. If deformity is seen on the injured part, do not move it and call for help immediately.
 

CHOKING

Cause:

Accidental swallowing of foreign body, strangulation, covering of head by blankets, accidental suffocation by pillow.

Prevention:

  • Choose toys appropriate to the age of children. Avoid toys with detachable small parts.
  • Ensure small objects are kept out of reach of children.
  • Pull cords on curtains and blinds should be kept short and out of reach of children.
  • Strings and plastic bags should be kept out of reach of children.
  • Foldable furniture should be properly placed and locked. Instruct children not to play with them.
  • Instruct children not to play while eating.
  • Never let children use milk bottle by themselves without adult’s supervision.
  • Never use pillow for baby under one year of age. Do not use large and heavy blanket. Never let the blanket cover the face of children during sleep.
  • Avoid sleeping with baby on the same bed.
  • Never leave children alone in a bath tub or basin filled with water.
  • Bucket filled with water must be covered and keep children away from it.

First Aid:

  1. Do not panic. Remove the object.
  2. Call for help immediately.
  3. Perform CPR if necessary.
 

BURN/SCALD

Cause:

Scald by hot water, burn by fire, burn due to touch of  hot objects such as cooking utensils, etc.

Prevention:

  • For adults, never hold a hot drink/food and a child at the same time.
  • Ensure milk or other foodstuff is at a reasonable temperature before feeding.
  • Ensure proper fence or door is installed at the entrance of kitchen. Such must be closed at all times. Instruct children not to go into kitchen.
  • While cooking, pay extra attention to the stove fire and the cooking utensil. Turn the pan handle away from the front, and place close to the wall.
  • When bathing a child, always test water temperature beforehand.
  • All hot objects including an iron or containers with hot matter must not be placed near the margin of a table. Avoid using tablecloth. Matches and lighters should be placed out of reach of children.
  • Instruct children not to wander around when adults are preparing for a meal.
  • Install proper cover to sockets.
  • Warn children not to play with fire.

First Aid:

  1. Do not panic. If necessary, call for help.
  2. Examine the child if airway is clear (e.g. can talk, cry or not); if breathing is adequate and circulation is normal (observe colour of the face, depth and rate of breathing).
  3. If breathing and circulation are normal, check for the burn or scald injures on the body.
  4. Rinse the injury site with tap (cold) water for about 10 minutes. If the child feels chilled, stop rinsing.
  5. Cover the injury site with a sterile gauze. Dress with bandages.
  6. Never apply toothpaste, soysauce or other ointments on the injured sites.
  7. Do not puncture any blister.
  8. Do not tear off any burned clothing that sticks on the injured site.
 

GLASS RELATED ACCIDENTS

Glass can cause serious cuts. Many children end up in hospital every year because of accidents with glass around the home. Many are also injured due to glasses and bottles break.

Prevention

  • Use safety glass at a low level, such as in doors and windows. Safety glass is glass that is toughened and laminated and passes specially designed impact tests. Normal glass shatters more easily. The British Standard for safety glass is BS 6206. Look for the BS marks on your windows or ask the glazier who is fitting your windows
  • Make existing glass safe by applying a shatter-resistant film
  • When buying furniture that includes glass, make sure it is safety approved.
  • Always dispose of broken glass quickly and safely, wrapping it in newspaper before throwing it in the bin
  • Do not let a toddler walk around holding anything made of glass or anything sharp, such as scissors and sharp pencils.

First aid:

  1. Do not panic. Call for help immediately if required.
  2. Examine the child if the airway is clear (e.g. can talk, cry or not); if breathing is adequate and circulation is normal (observe color of the face, depth and rate of breathing).
  3. If the child is unconscious but the airway is clear, breathing & circulation are normal, place in a lateral position.
  4. Remove all visible glass fragments immediately
  5. Control any large bleeding by using tourniquet.
 

DROWNING

Children can drown in just few centimeters of water and should be supervised at all times when near water:

Prevention

  • Never leave babies or children in the bath unsupervised, not even for a minute
  • Do not leave uncovered containers of liquid, e.g. a filled mop bucket
  • Keep buckets in bathroom upside down when not to be used immediately.
  • Store away paddling pools when not being used
  • Preferably, fill in garden ponds while children are small. If this is not possible, cover ponds with a rigid grille or fence them off securely. Be careful when your children visit other people’s gardens.

First aid:

  1. Do not panic. Call for help immediately if required.
  2. Examine the child if the airway is clear (e.g. can talk, cry or not); if breathing is adequate and circulation is normal (observe color of the face, depth and rate of breathing).
  3. If the child is unconscious but the airway is clear, breathing & circulation are normal, place in a lateral position.
  4. Start CPR if required
 

POISONING

Cause:

Food poisoning, accidental swallowing of drugs, detergents, insecticides, etc.

Prevention:

  • Keep medicines and chemicals out of sight and reach of children, preferably in an isolated, locked cabinet.
  • Always store chemicals in their original containers with appropriate labels.
  • Never tell children drugs are “sweets” as this may give a wrong idea to children.
  • Ensure toys and dining utensils bought meet the international standard, e.g. coloring materials being non-toxic.

First Aid:

  1. Do not panic. Call for help immediately.
  2. Examine the child if the airway is clear (e.g. can talk, cry or not); if breathing is adequate and circulation is normal (observe color of the face, depth and rate of breathing).
  3. Start CPR if necessary. Be cautious.
  4. If the child is unconscious but the airway is clear, breathing & circulation are normal, place in a lateral position.
  5. Bring along with any vomitus and remains of drugs taken when seeking medical treatment.
 

CALLING FOR HELP

  1. If necessary, call for ambulance service or Police
  2. Do not panic.
  3. Tell the call-taker how the injury happens and which part of the patient’s body is injured.
  4. Tell the call-taker if the child is conscious.
  5. Clearly tell the call-taker the address where the accident happens, the route leading to this address, and your contact telephone number.
  6. Do not hang up the phone until the call-taker had no further question. Do not rush.
 

CONCLUSION

Accident could not be completely avoided, but its occurrence could be prevented. To prevent accident to children, adults should pay more attention to home safety. They should also clear any hidden “hazards” at home and teach children about safety. If accidents happen, stay calm and call for help immediately

 

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