Common Childhood Injuries and Childhood Injury Prevention

How to prevent child injuries like cuts, bruises, scalds and burns? Learn good childhood injury prevention and lower the incidence of common childhood injuries in your home.

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As a parent, you have an instinct to protect your newborn and young children from harm. But you can’t always be around your child to keep him out of harm’s way. Knowing the common injuries to look out for and addressing some safety risks in your child’s environment can be very helpful for childhood injury prevention.

Common Childhood Injuries

Your child may easily sustain the following common injuries in child care or at home:
1. Skin: abrasions, cuts, scalds and burns
2. Bones and joints: getting fingers caught in doors or drawers, fractures, dislocation of elbows or shoulders
3. Impact: bruises from knocks, head injuries from falls, eye injuries
4. Foreign objects: swallowed objects, choking, accidental poisoning, objects lodged in the ears and nose

Always keep a first aid kit at home and learn how to administer basic first aid such as treating scalds, cuts or choking, which require immediate attention. Keep your child’s other caregivers informed on these actions as well.


Common Injuries in Childcare

Your child is rapidly developing both physically and mentally, especially up to the age of six. Knowing his developmental stages will help you to anticipate his physical abilities such as climbing (gross motor skill), opening containers (fine motor skill) and his mental development, such as being attracted by an interesting vase you may have placed on the shelf (curiosity).

Children develop differently and have different temperaments and personalities. Is your child active or does he prefer quiet activities? Learn about your child’s character and abilities and you’ll have a better idea on how to keep him safe without being too restrictive.


Strategies for Childhood Injury Prevention

Most common childhood injuries happen at home, where young children spend most of their time. A home environment that is suitable for you and your spouse may not suit a growing child. Childhood injury prevention starts with making your home as child-safe as possible.

Try visualising your home environment from your child’s perspective. You may even simulate the journey of your crawling baby to evaluate if your home is safe for his adventures. Make the necessary adjustments, for example:

1. Remove Danger

Remove these from your child's reach:
o Sharp objects: scissors, pencils, knives, forks, etc
o Hot objects: hot drinks and food, or cooking pots on your stove
o Small objects: small toy accessories, coins, buttons, nuts, etc
o Breakables: glass containers, porcelain plates which can break and cause cuts
o Chemicals and poisons: household cleaning agents, medicines, toiletries, insecticides etc
o Plastic bags, strings and cords: objects that may cause suffocation or strangulation
o Stools or other small furniture: things your child may use as props to reach heights

2. Add Safety Measures

These protective measures may make your home more conducive for childhood injury prevention:
o Barriers: use gates for kitchens or a playpen to keep baby in
o Lock and key: install window grilles and keep them locked once your baby is able to climb
o Cover electrical outlets: electrical hazards should be kept out of reach, including wires and cords
o Furniture: secure your chest of drawers or bookshelf to the wall in case your child pulls them down
o Standing fans: secure tall-standing objects in case they topple
o Doors and drawers: use child-proof locks and door stoppers to protect little fingers
o Sharp corners: use corner guards

3. Water Safety

Some common childhood injuries are caused by wet or slippery surfaces. Look out for the following:
o Bathtubs, toilets, pails: never leave any container of water unattended and leave the toilet cover down
o Slippery floors: keep your floor dry, mop up spills and use anti-slip mats in the shower room and toilet
o Showering or bath: always test the water temperature before turning the shower head to your child or lowering your baby into the bathtub

4. Choose Child-Safe Equipment

o Toys: look out for small parts that may be dislodged, paint that may come off and remove batteries from electronic toys when not in use, in case of leakage
o Meals: use child-safe cutlery and sturdy high-chairs with proper restraints


Teach Your Child to Be Safe

As your child grows, teach him to avoid danger and injuries and to protect himself. If he accidentally hurts himself, keep calm and attend to his injuries. Your child may get more distressed if he senses your panic. Instead of chiding him, use accidents as opportunities to teach him about safety. It’s all part of growing and learning.

Learn more about the other common conditions that children face: 
Asthma
Fever

References

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Common Childhood Injuries and Childhood Injury Prevention

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