The majority of injuries to the children are unintentional; events that are often described as “accidents”. Unintentional injuries account for about 96% of injury hospital admissions and about and 90% of injury deaths in children up to 14 year of age. Most unintentional injuries are both predictable and preventable and result from a lack of child safety. Transport related injury and drowning are the leading causes of injury related death for children aged 1 to 14 years. Falls and transport related injury are the two leading causes of injury related hospital admissions. The following is a list of the top 10 accidents for children and safety tips on preventing them:
Children not using seat belts are five times more likely to be killed or injured. Every child should be in a child seat belt/restraint on every trip. Child restraints must be properly fitted and used.
Children need time to develop a road sense and to learn and obey road rules. Children under 8 are at the greatest risk. Provide a safe place for your child to play away from the road side and traffic. Keep reinforcing road safety behavior to your child.
Poison presents common safety hazards for young children. Medicines, household cleaners and products must be kept out of sight and out of reach preferably in a child-restraint cupboard or under lock and key.
The major risk is that a baby or child may be overcome by the smoke.
Fall is the single largest cause of child injury. Install safety rails or guards for steps, stairs and balconies. Put ‘soft’ fall material under play equipment. Supervise your baby or child when using baby furniture.
Drowning is the single biggest danger to children under 5 years of age. Fence around pools and fountains and check safety gates regularly. Stay with young children when they are in the bath and during other kid activities around water.
Baby furniture is a common cause of injury to children under two – especially from falls. Buy products safe for kids that are sturdy and well made. Always use a safety harness. If there is not one, buy one separately.
Each day 2 or 3 children are taken to the hospital because of dog bite. Around 75% of these are bitten by a family or friend’s dog. Talk to your child about the dangers of patting dogs unfamiliar to them.
Scalds are major cause of long term damage to children. Keep cups of hot drinks well out of reach. Hot water from the top can scald in seconds. Check the bathroom hot water is below 50 degrees Celsius.
Bikes, inline skates & skateboards
Most injuries from boards or bikes result from falls. Helmets reduce the risk of brain injury by 90 percent. Teach children how to ride and to stop and start safely. Show them safe places where they can practice and set rules for where they can ride and skate.
Common Childhood Accidents and Preventions
Despite the best safety efforts, childhood accidents sometimes happen. Here are examples of some common childhood emergencies, including how they are most likely to happen, and tips for how to avoid them.
- Burns are among the most common childhood accidental injuries, and they can happen several ways:
- Electrical burns and shock from inserting fingers or objects into outlets or biting electrical cards.
- Flames from stoves, lamps, matches, lit cigarettes, fireplaces and house fires.
- Touching hot surfaces, such as stoves, heaters and microwave containers
- Hot liquid and steam from pans, cups, hot water heaters and bath water.
- Set water heaters no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Never leave food cooking unattended on the stove, and keep pot handles turned out of reach. Always supervise children in the kitchen.
- Every day, hundreds of children are treated for poisoning in emergency rooms. Accidental poisoning can happen from:
- Swallowing shampoo, aftershave, perfume, cleaning products, hand sanitizer, and liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes
- Eating medication or vitamins, or taking an incorrect dose of medicine.
- Exposure to carbon monoxide from gas appliances such as stoves and heaters
- Get rid of expired and unnecessary medicines both prescription and over-the-counter.
- Keep medicines, personal care products, cleaning solutions, and house hold chemicals out of reach (and out of sight) of young children
- Install carbon monoxide detectors.
Drowning remains a leading cause of death for children through age 14, and even small amounts of water pose a danger to very young kids. Take the following precautions to reduce your child’s risk:
- Be cautious with young children around water in toilets, bathtubs, and buckets, and ice chests and coolers containing water or ice.
- Make sure hot tubs, fountains and swimming pools are inaccessible to your child.
- Keep your child away from fountains, irrigation ditches, post holes and wells.
- Supervise your child closely whenever he/she is playing around water.
- Make sure buckets and pails are empty when you are not using them.
- Keep the toilet lid down and the bathroom door closed.
- Never leave your child unattended around water.
Some falls and tumbles are inevitable as children learn to stand, walk, run and climb. Most are not serious, but falls are actually the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children, including head injuries, fractures, sprains, and contusions or bruises. Some of the most common places children fall from include:
- Beds and other furniture
- Slippery floors
- Shopping carts
- Play equipment
- Unsecured baby seats
- Baby walkers
- Take your child to age-appropriate play grounds with soft under the equipment.
- Never leave a baby unattended on a changing table or other piece of furniture.
Choking, Strangulation and Suffocation
Very young children put pretty much everything into their mouths. And if there is a way for your child to get tangled up in cords or ribbons, they will probably find it. Here are some examples of everyday objects that can be hazardous to your child:
- Small bits of food, toys, batteries, bottle caps, coins, balloons, marbles, pen or marker caps, magnets, buttons, rubber bands, small barrettes or hair bows, and water beads are choking hazards.
- Necklaces, drawstrings on clothes, baby headbands, strings, ties, and ribbons as well as cords on toys, household appliances, window blinds, and other fixtures could cause strangulation.
- Improperly fastened safety harnesses in a highchair or stroller could allow a baby to slip down and become trapped.
- Older cribs with drop rails can trap a baby, and blankets, pillows, crib bumpers and mattresses can lead to suffocation.
- Keep cribs and beds away from windows with blinds or cords.
- Check between sofa and chair cushions for small toys that might have slipped down where little fingers can find them.
- Keep choking and strangulation hazards away from young children.
- Never lay your baby face down on a soft surface.
Other injuries to watch out for:
- Nose injuries from running into stationary objects, falling on a hard surface, deflecting a flying toy, or fighting with other children
- Items stuck in a nostril or ear: such as small stones, chewable vitamins, pebbles, and peas.
- Cuts and scratches from sharp fingernails, pets, sharp objects, furniture edges, sticks and other pointed objects outside
- A pulled elbow from picking up your child by one arm, jerking his arm forcefully, or swinging him around by the arms
- Eye injuries caused by dust, sand, chemical sprays, or other types of foreign matter
- Bites from animals, insects or other child
- Child proofing your house can go a long way towards keeping your child safe from household dangers.
- Knowing first aid and knowing how to tell whether an injury is treatable at home or needs to be taken to hospital – can keep a bad situation from getting worse.
Collisions are not the only thing to worry about when it comes to cars. Other dangers include:
- An incorrectly sized or improperly installed car seat (or not using a car seat at all)
- Heatstroke from leaving a child in a closed car
- Entrapment in power windows or car trunks
- Getting accidently run over
- Make sure your child’s car seat is a current model, in good condition and properly installed.
- Always buckle up
- Walk all the way around your car before getting in to make sure no children are playing nearby.