A parent’s love far outweighs mere mortal emotions. Your chest physically aches at the thought of them being hurt. You wish you could cuddle them in bubble wrap and keep them safe – even from the little accidents, a head bump against the crib or a tumble from the couch, everyday things. How you wish you could protect them from it all.
You do your best to keep them from harm but inevitably a bump, lump or bruise will make its appearance. Try to see this as a learning experience and a much-needed reminder that your little one will survive life’s little accidents.
It’s true, you won’t be able to shield them from every tumble or fall. However, you can and should educate yourself on the risks and take the necessary precautions to prevent future injuries. Each year, millions of children are hurt by unintentional injuries. It’s the top reasons for kids under three years of age to visit the emergency room. Young children have the highest risk of being injured at home because that’s where they spend most of their time.
You don’t have to be good at everything or solely rely on your mother’s intuitions or even your mother in-law’s advice (don’t tell her we said that). Let us help you address those worries and fears.
Some of the statistics below might be scary, but it’s important for you to know the background and tools to overcome these anxieties and help your child to develop resilience.
Unintentional injuries commonly experienced at home
In Australia, injuries remain one of the primary causes of mortality and morbidity in young children, with around 600 individuals younger than 15 fatally injured and a further 95, 000 hospitalised as a result of an injury each year.
Accidents that are more likely to happen at home include:
- Drowning: Globally children under the age of 5 are at the greatest risk of drowning – infants can drown in only a few centimetres of water.
- Chocking and suffocation: Babies, toddlers and young children like to put things into their mouths, which can block their airway.
- Burns can be caused by hot objects, hot liquids, chemicals, electricity and the sun. Nearly 75 per cent of burns on young children are from hot liquid, hot tap water or steam.
- Falls are the most common cause of injury to babies and children, accounting for 50-60 per cent of all child injuries, especially major head traumas. Falling on stairs, slippery floors, tripping over furniture etc.
- Poisoning from toxic substances found under the kitchen sink, in the medicine cabinet and in the garage or garden shed. The rate of fatal poisoning is highest for children under one year.
How to help prevent home accidents
Be within arms’ reach of your child at all times when in, or around water. Baby bath seats are NOT designed to prevent drowning, do not leave your child unattended in a bath. Cover or remove all water hazards in and around your house.
Always stay with your child when they’re eating. Keep coins, batteries, balloons and other small objects away from your child. Learn CPR and the age-appropriate Heimlich manoeuvre.
Put child-safety covers over all electrical outlets. Set the water temperature of your water cylinder to 50°C in order to prevent scalds. Use the back burners when you cook and turn pot handles towards the back of the stove.
Put a safety gate at the top and bottom of stairs. Make sure the gate at the top of the stairs is bolted into the wall. Always use safety straps on your child’s stroller and high chair. Secure TV and furniture to the wall, so they won’t fall on your child.
Store all drugs and poisons (including household cleaning products) behind lock and key. Purchase medication in child-resistant packaging.
Keeping kids safe is hard work. Not all injuries are preventable. But implementing these tips will go a long way in protecting your child as best you can. For those accidents that happen despite your best efforts, try and not beat yourself up about it (pun intended).
Even when all of the safety precautions are followed, home accidents do happen and many can be treated with first aid at home. However, when your child has a serious accident you must seek immediate medical attention.
This blog post is sponsored by Life Insurance Direct
Despite your best efforts accidents do happen, so be prepared. Make sure you have the financial resources to help your child should they need medical attention. Make sure you have Child Cover added to your life insurance policy.