Key practice: Managing child injuries and accidents at home
Taking appropriate action
Take appropriate actions to prevent and manage child injuries and accidents at home and in the community.
What you need to know
- The most common place for young children to be injured is in or around their homes. Injuries affect children of all ages and girls and boys under 5 years of age are at risk. The common injuries and accidents in the home include: cuts, poisoning, choking, electric shocks, falls, drowning and burns. However, many serious injuries can be prevented if parents and other caregivers supervise children carefully and keep their environment safe.
- Almost all these injuries can be prevented. Prevention requires supervising children carefully and keeping them away from dangers, such as cooking fires, water sources, places where they can fall, roads, and items that can poison, choke or hurt them.
- Accidents and injuries are common with people of all ages. However, children are naturally curious and active hence are more prone to injuries and accidents.
- To avoid child injuries in general, do not leave children unattended.
- In case the child is injured, give first aid and where necessary, take him or her to a qualified health worker/nearest health facility.
- Common injuries and accidents in the home include: cuts, poisoning, choking, electric shocks, falls, drowning and burns.
- All these can be avoided by taking appropriate measures.
Why we need to keep our homes free from accidents
- Many children once injured are left with permanent disabilities or brain damage.
- Drowning may cause brain injury or death. To prevent children from drowning, parents and other caregivers should always closely supervise children who are near or in the water.
- Burning and scalding are among the most common causes of serious injury among young children. Burns often cause permanent scarring, and some are fatal. The great majority of these are preventable.
- Children often fall as they learn to walk, run and jump. Many of these falls cause small scrapes and bruises. Sometimes falls can cause broken bones, head injuries or other serious injuries, even death.
- Poisoning is a serious danger to small children. Medicines, bleach, insect and rat poison, paraffin (kerosene) and household detergents can kill or permanently injure a child.
- Broken glass can cause serious cuts, loss of blood and infected wounds. Sharp metal objects, machinery and rusty cans can cause wounds that can become badly infected.
- One-way young children explore their environment is by putting things in their mouths which might cause them to choke. Also, young children have difficulty chewing and swallowing some foods such as hard sweets that can cause them to choke.