It is estimated that around 1 million children under 15 are taken to the emergency department every year due to accidents occurring at home. Many go unreported as they are treated at home or at the doctor’s clinics.
Injuries occurring at home are some of the most common causes of death in children under age of five. Usually, boys are more prone to injuries than girls. The chances of an accident are increased when children are left unsupervised.
Falls from height, accidental poisoning, burns and scalding injuries are more common in very young children; while fractures, such as broken wrist or arm, cuts, and bruises are common in older children.
Majority of the injuries that occur at the home are avoidable. Awareness and understanding of the possible safety risks at home can help prevent these accidents. As parents, it is important to learn how to keep your home safe, at the same time, how to respond in an emergency. Taking a first aid course can equip you with knowledge and skills in dealing with accidents and emergencies in children.
When to call an ambulance?
Call an ambulance or your local emergency response service if your child:
- stops breathing
- becomes unconscious or difficult to rouse
- experiences first seizure attack
When to visit the emergency room?
Take your child to the nearest emergency department if your child:
- has fever and is persistently lethargic despite taking analgesics/anti-inflammatory
- has difficulty breathing (for example, fast breathing, sucking in under the ribcage)
- complains sudden, severe abdominal pain
- has a cut that doesn’t stop bleeding
- suffers an arm or leg injury and the limb can’t be moved
- has ingested a poison or tablets
If you are worried about your child’s condition or injuries and are not sure about what to do, call 911 or your local emergency phone number. Keep the child warm and monitor breathing while waiting for help to arrive.
How to prevent accidents and injuries at home?
Although injuries can happen anywhere in the home, they most commonly occur in places such as the kitchen, bathroom, dining room, and the stairs. Accidents that occur in the kitchen and on the stairs often lead to major injuries. There are specific hazards in every part of the home, such as sharp objects in the kitchen, hot water in the bathroom, window cords in the dining room, and many more. Open staircases and balconies also pose safety risks.
Children simply do not have regard to safety and have poor coordination and balance. They also love to explore the environment and their new-found skills. There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of injury at home, such as:
- lack of supervision or distraction
- factors such as chronic illness, stress, moving home, homelessness, and a death in the family
- changes to the usual routine of the child
- overcrowding or poor housing conditions
- lack of knowledge of safety precautions
First aid training courses not only equip participants with lifesaving skills but also help make households safer for children.