Children are eager to explore the world around them. Unfortunately, their curiosity can land them in trouble. Kidshealth.org says household injuries are one of the top reasons behind a trip to the emergency room for children under the age of three. What is more, accidental injury was found to be the leading cause of death in children 14 years and younger - with more than a third of these instances occurring in the home.

Prevention is key

Injury of your child in the home can be avoided, and child-proofing your home is one of the best ways to avoid the unwanted hospital visit, or worse.

Here is what you can do to make your home safer for your child:

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detector-alarms.
  • Cover unattended power sockets to prevent accidental electrocution.
  • Install child-safety gates in danger zones like the kitchen or a flight of stairs.
  • Secure grills and windows with lock systems.
  • Switch to child-safe surface cleaning solutions.
  • Keep all medicines locked and inaccessible to your child.
  • Have a first aid kit ready and make sure it stays well stocked.

Here are other ways to keep your child safe in the house:

  • Do not leave your child unattended in a bath or when playing with water. Children can drown in water that is only a few centimetres deep.
  • Do not let your child use a walker, swing or jumper without adult supervision.
  • Get a cordless phone so you can take calls while looking over your child.
  • Explain what in-home dangers are to your child.
  • Establish to your child what appliances and devices in the house are off-limits.
  • Give your child only age-suitable toys for play to minimise accidental choking by toy parts.
  • Cut up food into manageable sizes for your child to swallow and digest without problems.

My child is hurt! What do I do?

Should your child get into an accident when in the house, do not panic. Keep your calm and reassure the child that everything will be fine. Assess the injury and contact the appropriate medical resources if required.

Call for an ambulance immediately if your child has:

  • stopped breathing,
  • is struggling for breath,
  • cannot be roused from unconsciousness,
  • or is having a seizure.

Take your child to the nearest Accident & Emergency (A&E) hospital department if your child has:

  • a persistent fever and is constantly lethargic,
  • weak breathing like panting or wheezing,
  • severe abdominal pain,
  • a cut that will not stop bleeding,
  • consumed poison or tablets.

Common accidents

If your child has something lodged up the nose or in the ear, do not try to remove it on your own because you could easily push it further in. At this point, instruct your child to breathe through the mouth (if the nose is blocked) and take your child to the nearest Accident & Emergency (A&E) hospital department.

If your child has a cut, press firmly on the wound until bleeding stops. If there is a lot of bleeding, raise the injured area in such a way to prevent more blood loss, and take your child to the nearest Accident & Emergency (A&E) hospital department.

If it is just a minor cut or scrape, clean the wound with soap and water, apply an antiseptic lotion and bandage the wound.

If your child has burned or scalded himself, immediately put the wound under running cold water to dissipate the heat that is in the skin. Cover the burn with disinfected cloth that is not woolly. Do not apply oil, ointment, butter or anything else on burns that are severe as these have to be cleaned off before medical treatment. Take your child to the doctor or the nearest Accident & Emergency (A&E) hospital department if the burn is severe.

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Contributed by:
Early Childhood Development Agency