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Preventing-Accidents-In-The-Home

Preventing Accidents In The Home

Nearly half of all childhood accidental injuries occur at home and in the garden. 
Nearly half of all childhood accidental injuries occur at home and in the garden. Whether your child has become mobile yet or not it is never too early to carry out a survey of your home to pinpoint potential danger areas and take the necessary safety measures.

Childhood deaths in the home can occur in house fires, by drowning, through suffocation or choking, falling from a height such as out of a window, and from poisoning.

Home injuries can occur anywhere inside the home or in the garden. The five most common locations – in order – are living/dining room, garden, kitchen, stairs, and bedroom.


Falls

Falls account for almost 25% of all home accidental injuries to children. They are the most common single cause of accidental injury in the home. Babies, toddlers and older children can fall out of people’s arms, from furniture, down steps and stairs, from windows and over objects on the ground.

Safety measures you can take:
  • fit safety barriers to the top and bottom of stairs
  • horizontal banister or balcony railings can be climbed up – change them to vertical railings or board them up
  • fit safety catches on upstairs windows
  • keep furniture away from windows
  • never leave babies unattended on furniture or changing tables, they can easily roll off
  • don’t put babies in bouncy chairs or carry cots on tables or counter tops
  • wipe up spills as soon as they happen to avoid slips
  • encourage children to put their toys away after use
  • fix loose carpets and mats and do not have trailing flexes.

Collision with a person or an object

This is the second most common type of accidental home injury and the only one where the injury rates are approximately the same for both younger children (birth to five years) and for older children (ages five years to 14).

Safety measures you can take:
  • Fit corner guards to sharp edges of furniture.

Burns and scalds

This is the third most common type of home injury and it affects babies and toddlers three times more frequently than children over five years. Scalds from hot drinks are the most common cause

Safety measures you can take:
  • fit smoke alarms and check regularly that they are working
  • close doors at night to stop fire spreading
  • if possible install a fire extinguisher and fire blanket
  • keep matches and lighters out of sight and reach of small children
  • use fireguards on all heaters and fires and do not use them to dry clothes
  • keep children away from ovens, hobs and hotplates
  • turn pot handles towards the back of the stove and use back rings for cooking when possible
  • never fill a chip pan more than one third full and never leave a hot chip pan unattended
  • use short or curly flexes with kettles and keep them out of the reach of children
  • don’t hold a child when you have a hot drink and keep mugs and cups of hot drinks well out of the reach of young children
  • adjust the hot water so that it comes out of the tap at less than 55ºC
  • turn irons off immediately after use and never leave the flex dangling
  • put cold water in the bath first then add hot water


Poisoning

Poisonings, the fourth most common type of home injury, occur when children eat or drink medicines, household cleaners and chemicals, DIY and gardening substances. Over 90% of children accidentally poisoned in the home are under five years.


Safety measures you can take:
  • keep all medicines out of sight and reach of children – preferably in a locked cupboard
  • keep dangerous substances out of reach of children – these include household chemicals such as cleaners, detergents and bleach, as well as DIY material such as paints, thinners, strippers, varnishes. glues and other adhesives
  • remember that perfumes, essential oils and alcohol can also be poisonous to children and keep them out of reach
  • keep all dangerous substances in original containers
Other injuries in the home include cutting, piercing, crushing, pinching, suffocation, choking and near drowning.


Drowning

  • always supervise children in or near water
  • never leave a small child (under five years) alone in a bath even for a moment
  • empty the bath as well as buckets and other water containers, inside the house and outside, immediately after use
  • drain or securely cover the garden pond


Cutting and piercing

  • fit safety glass in low level glass in doors and windows or board them up
  • attach safety film to any glass in furniture, or re-fit with safety glass
  • mark large areas of glass with stickers
  • fit safety catches on drawers containing sharp cutlery and knives
  • keep kitchen gadgets and sewing materials out of reach

Suffocation, strangling and choking

  • pillows, duvets and bean bags should not be used for babies under one year
  • never use strings, ribbons and ties on very young children’s clothes
  • strings on toys over cots or playpens should be shorter than 20cms
  • never string toys across a cot or pram
  • stay with children when they are drinking or eating and get them to sit still
  • supervise small children if they are eating small pieces of fruit or vegetables
  • don’t give peanuts to children under six years
  • keep small objects like coins and parts of toys away from young children
  • always keep plastic bags and plastic film away from children
  • follow the age recommendations on toys – they are there for a reason
Many accidental injuries that occur in the home and garden are fortunately relatively uncomplicated, but some are severe and may involve serious and long-term consequences.
Keep emergency numbers near telephones and first aid supplies, and ensure they are clearly visible.

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eumom team 

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