Dubai: Serious injuries to children are mostly caused due to accidents at home, said a top Dubai Health Authority (DHA) doctor and he cautioned parents to be on the look out for accidents waiting to happen.
According to international statistics more than two million children under the age of 15 experience accidents in and around the home every year, for which they are taken to accident and emergency units and many more are treated by general practitioners and by parents and carers.
Dr Ahmad Abdu Al Esnawy, senior paediatrician specialist at Latifa Hospital said falls contributed to nearly 44 per cent of all non fatal injuries taking place among children worldwide. “Those most at risk from home accident are the 0-4 years age group due to their limited perception of the environment and because of their lack of experience or development,” he said.
Most of these accidents are preventable through increased awareness, improvements in the home environment and greater product safety.
The most common non fatal accidents among children happen due to falls. These can happen to children as young as 3 months upwards. Dr Elsnawy said falls at home contributed to nearly 44 per cent of all children’s injuries. “Babies as young as 3-months-old become strong enough to roll over and were prone to fall out of bed. Therefore, parents were cautioned not to leave babies alone when they are lying on high surfaces and ensure that their beds have protective barriers around them.
Meanwhile, he said children who are older can fall while climbing trees, windows, stairs or while they are swinging or on a bike. It is important to protect children from these kinds of injuries waiting to happen at home as these can lead to haemohorrhage or concussion, breaking of bone and other serious consequences.
How to prevent injuries in children
■ Refrain from leaving babies alone when they are laying on high surfaces and ensure that their beds have protective barriers around them.
■ Place obstacles or fence guards to refrain them from reaching forbidden areas when they are in their crawling phase
■ Don’t leave your child alone in the toilet as he or she might slip and fall
■ Ensure that all balconies and windows are closed and do not leave chairs or things that they can climb next to them.
■ Teach children how to correctly go up and down stairs
■ Choose a non-slip type of flooring to prevent falls caused by slipping.
■ Pan and pot handles should be kept away from children’s reach when they are on the stove.
■ When serving food, parents should make sure children do not touch the hot pots and they should not drink hot beverages while they are carrying their children
■ Parents should also ensure that the children cannot reach the iron while they are pressing their clothes.
■ Parents should check the water before preparing the bath and should refrain from opening the hot water first. To test the water’s heat, they should use their elbow as it is the more sensitive than palms
■ Parents should not keep stuffed animals and pillows in their child’s crib before they are one-year-old and they should not leave the bottle in their mouth when they are sleeping.
■ Children should not be given gum or nuts before the age of four and parents should not keep plastic bags near them as they might put their head in it and accidentally suffocate.
■ Gas cylinders should be kept in a safe place away from children
■ Sharp edges of tables, furniture need to be smoothened out.
■ Keep sharp cutlery away from children.
■ Give only fresh food items to children. Check expiry dates on food bought from stores or malls before giving to children.
■ Wash fruits and vegetables properly before feeding them to their children.
■ Store medications away from children’s reach. They should never compare these medications to candy so that children don’t get confused and think they can have them whenever they want.
■ Discard expired medication away to avoid any complications.
■ Keep away all household cleaning products away from the reach of your child
■ Store these in closed areas that are away from the children’s reach and away from food or cutlery and plates used for eating. Don’t let you children enter areas that have been exposed to chemicals like pesticides. These products should also not be stored in water bottles as children can mistake them for water and drink them.
■ Parents must make sure all unused power plugs are closed with special plugs and they should refrain from leaving exposed electricity wires.
■ Children might also get into accidents related to closing doors. Doors that close on their own or due to wind can be dangerous as they might close on children’s toes or fingers.
■ Use good locks so that the doors don’t close and keys must be left in doors so that children don’t lock themselves in rooms.
■ In the case where the child locks himself inside a room, parents must first calm the child down then call Civil Defence if you were unable to unlock the door. Don’t break the door so you don’t harm the child.