March 7th – 11th was Family Safety Week. Every year around 2 million children under the age of 15 are taken to A&E because they have been injured in accidents in or around the home. 25% of these children are under five years old.
Many accidents can be treated initially with first aid at home. If you are unsure about what to do you can contact a babylon GP in minutes wherever you are and they will be happy to help.
There are occasions where you should not hesitate before calling 999 and requesting an ambulance. You should do this if your child (or anyone):
- Stops breathing
- Is struggling to breathe – if the area under their ribcage is ‘sucked in’
- Is unconscious or seems unaware of what’s going on
- Won’t wake up
- Has a seizure or fit, even if they seem to recover
You should take your child to your nearest A&E if they:
- Have a high temperature or fever and are lacking in energy despite having paracetamol or ibuprofen
- Are breathing fast, panting, or very wheezy
- Have severe abdominal (tummy) pain
- Have a cut that won’t stop bleeding or is gaping open
- Have a leg or arm injury that means they are unable to use the limb
- Have swallowed poisonous substances or tablets
"It's every parent's worst nightmare to have their child injured in an accident, but fortunately many common household accidents can be avoided by following some simple advice." Dr. Matt Noble
The lava game is fun, and children see the world and the items in it as a launch-pad for their imaginative adventures. Always make sure shelving units and large pieces of furniture including fridges and freezers are secured to the wall.
Trampolines should be used with safety nets, and children should take turns.
As soon as babies begin moving around safety gates should be used. Always supervise very small children on the stairs.
Fit your windows with restrictors set to no more than 100mm. Where possible don’t place furniture under windows, as children like to climb.
Household medicines such as paracetamol are the number one cause of poisoning to children. Keep medicines out of sight and out of reach. If you can, keep them in a locked cabinet. Never tell a child that a medicinal tablet is a sweet.
It’s also a good idea to keep fruity smelling toiletries out of reach.
Chemicals and cleaning products should be out of sight and out of reach. You can fit cupboard locks to lower level cupboards and drawers. Do not rely on child-proof caps, and be weary when visiting other people’s homes as theirs may not be as child-proof as yours.
Avoid introducing berry picking and eating until your child is old enough to understand how different berries can be poisonous. Until then it might be safer to make a general rule that everything in the garden is inedible.
Children explore the world in every way they can, and one of those ways is by putting everything in their mouths. Nappy sacks are notorious for causing suffocation, so always keep them out of reach and never give them to your baby to play with while you’re changing their nappy.
Babies like to wriggle and squirm, so avoid using pillows and duvets for young children.
As children start to explore they can easily become tangled
- If you have corded blinds, make sure the cords are too short for your child to reach and get tangled in
- Keep dressing gown cords and drawstring bags out of reach
- Do not place garden play equipment near washing lines
- Food should be cut small – grapes, cherry tomatoes etc should be cut into quarters
- Boiled sweets and peanuts etc should be kept out of reach
- Children should be supervised and encouraged to sit still when eating
- Plastic bags should be kept away from children, and burst balloon remains should be disposed of immediately
For everything you need to know about how to deal with burns, read our Burn Guide by babylon’s Nurse Grainne McCarthy.
Accidents can happen when there’s no one around to provide first aid. To know what to do in an emergency, when you’re alone, click here.