According to BabyCentre, more than one million children in the UK are taken to hospital after being involved in an accident in the home every year. Those most at risk from a home accident are children under five years old. Dr.Sibel Kılıcaslan, a Child Health and Diseases Specialist, says that a safe environment can be created with precautions taken beforehand, by simply making small yet effective changes at home.
Most of the accidents are preventable events that occur in houses or in the garden, pools and garages. With simple precautions you take in advance, you can make your home a much safer and more peaceful place for you and for your loved ones.
Children in the 0-6 age group constitute the highest percentage of victims of accidents, as they spend most of their time at home, not to mention their high level of curiosity in discovering and learning about their surroundings, their ability to imitate elders, being in constant motion, and the desire to explore the environment. Toddlers also have a habit of taking everything to their mouths due to lack of knowledge and experience. Furthermore babies and toddlers hand and body skills are much higher than adults, and do not have sufficient developmental skills to protect themselves from accidents.
Most common accidents in the home
The most common types of home accidents among children are falls, burns, poisoning, drowning, and swallowing objects. In children younger than one year old, choking and suffocation are more common. Falling, boiling water, burning with fire and poisoning are more common among children aged 1-4 years. Between the ages of 2 to 4, poisoning increases with cleaning agents and medications lying around, and after 5 years of age it increases with medicines stored within reach. In a study conducted by UNICEF, the most common types of accidents in children aged 0-6 years who have suffered an accident are falls (63%), burns (16%), car accidents (7%) and poisoning (4.4%).
Precautions to be taken for 0-1 age group
Falling, choking, drowning, burning, and poisoning are frequent amongst 0-1 age group.
- The cot selection should be suitable for the baby. The distance between the bars on a cot bed should not be more than 6cm’s. This is to prevent your baby from squeezing their head through the bars. When a baby stands up straight the height of the cot bed should be adjusted accordingly to ensure they do not fall off the bed.
- The baby should never be left alone at home.
- Plastic bags and balloons should be kept away from the baby.
- The baby should not be allowed to play with small objects.
- Hard foods should not be given to your baby.
- Toxic substances must be put in places where the baby cannot reach.
- The heating system and boilers should be checked once a year.
- There must be safety lugs at all windows.
- Smoking is not allowed at home.
- The way to escape during the fire should be planned.
- Flammable materials should not be kept at home.
- While holding your baby, hot drinks should not be drunk and should not be moving around.
- The safety curtain must be placed in front of the heaters.
- Your child should not be left alone in the toilet or bathroom.
- It is necessary to know what to do in case of choking and suffocation.
Precautions to be taken for 1-5 age group
Again, falling, drowning, burning, and poisoning are quite frequent amongst the 1-5 age group.
- Children should not be left alone at home
- A reliable and experienced baby-sitter should be chosen
- Plastic bags and balloons should be kept away from children
- Choose the right toys for the right age
- The child should not be given food that blocks the airway
- There must be safety lugs at all windows
- A safety gate must be installed at the entrance and exit of stairs
- It should be noted that the child's bed is placed away from the window
- Electric cables must be safe and at a height that children cannot reach
- Medicines, detergents and other toxic substances should be locked in their original containers, in separate cupboards, where they cannot be reached by children
- A fire escape plan should be planned in advance
- There should be a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and a fire-smoke alarm at home
- The heat of the hot water system at home must be adjusted, hot pots must be placed where children cannot reach.