Preventing household accidents especially in children and the first aid needed to save a life

Many lives could be safe if and only if we know the simple things we need to do even when we are not medics. Several times, we come across scenes accidents and some of which are household accidents; but most times we are faced with not knowing what to do when that occurs and most times people do die before we can rush them to the hospital. I am writing on how to avoid some of the household accidents, precautions to take and also what to do to save lives.

Household Accidents: Children are the most affected especially those that are learning how to walk or have learnt how to crawl and they start moving about. These children are exposed to harm and they could get burnt by hot water/fire/oil, or could drink kerosene or harmful chemicals etc.

How can you avoid household accidents?

Take caution on where you keep harmful substances such that they are not accessible to your kids. When you know a kid could crawl or walk, always put harmful things high up or lock them up so that kids will not have access to them. These harmful things could include petrol, kerosene, insecticides and rodenticides, matches, drugs etc. Children mostly pick up things and put them straight to their mouth which is the reason why drugs or other items such as matches have warnings that read: Keep out of reach of children. These things could kill them and so avoiding accidents is far better than looking for solutions.
Also lock the doors of your kitchen and bathroom from children that are not yet wise to use the toilets themselves because they do put their hands in the toilet seat to touch the water and sometimes the take the water into their mouth especially when they are thirsty. The same caution goes for your kitchen and store room. Try as much as possible to keep their environment safe for them.

Do not allow children to play with sharps such as knife, blades, pins, etc.

Be very observant of your kid: children love eating and if they are still within 0 5 years, you should be very observant because anything they find, they may eat it, whether they find a dead cockroach or they are bitten by an ant, or they mistakenly or purposely insert rice, beans or stick into their ears and may not be able to talk or are afraid that you will be them, this will make you unaware of what has happened and you only get to know when the damage has been done, so be observant of them. If it is a small child who cannot talk, you find them crying and trying to touch that area, if you are not observant enough, you may think they want to eat or drink or are trying to sleep. A child might be crying and wriggling the body, if you are not observant, you may miss the insect that is biting your baby or if you cannot figure out, just check their pants, clothes, hair, mouth, and ears. It might be they have been stunk by insects in these areas; you can also look around the environment for other things like scorpions, snakes etc. A child who is initially laughing and playing will not just suddenly start crying except there is something causing it. So always try to check around their environment and make sure their environment is clean and healthy. Clean the floor and disinfect surfaces.

These are some signs that could help you understand what is happening with little children:
– A child that cries and touches the ear and is easily irritable most likely have something in the ear and might be an infection, an object, insect or liquid inside.
– A child that cries or drool saliva and does not like to eat or take breast milk is likely to have sore throat; try checking the throat when you open the mouth to see if the uvula (the long structure in the mouth that drops down near the back of the tongue) is red or the throat is red. If it is red, it means the child has an infection and most be threated promptly to prevent heart and kidney disease in your baby.
– A child that suddenly starts jumping and gasping without being able to cry could have an object stuck in the throat and obstructing the airway. You need to remove it quickly or else the child dies.
– A child whose hands and feet become suddenly swollen with no cause and cries when touched is most likely to be a sickle cell baby. Take your child to the hospital for treatment.

Do not give a child drugs that have been prescribed for adults: often times, I do hear parents saying you just need to break Paracetamol (Panadol) tablet (500mg) into two halves and give a child half of it when the child is running temperature; it is wrong to assume that if an adult takes 2 tablets, then the child would take 1 tablet. Children are different from adults and most be taken as such. If you normally do this, please abstain from it because one day you may end up killing your child with the intention of trying to help.

What to do to save a live from Household accidents:

1. Poisons/Chemicals/Liquids: depending on when the accident occurred, whenever your child drinks a poison, quickly make the child to vomit immediately; giving excess of milk or palm oil could make the child vomit; or you could put a finger into the throat to trigger vomiting. This is helpful only if it has not been long (hours) before you got to know, in fact it is most efficient for iron poisoning. Try to keep the child in a prostrating position and NOT BY LYING DOWN. Prostration helps to keep the child from aspirating the liquid into the lungs.
DO NOT make a child vomit when the child has taken Kerosene or Petrol or acids or anything corrosive. If you do this, you are only worsening the problem. In times like this, give enough water that will prevent vomiting to help neutralize the liquid and then rush the child to the nearest hospital. I still repeat it that you should NOT make the baby to vomit when Kerosene or Petrol is ingested.

These are the signs a child will show with Kerosene or petrol poisoning: Nausea, Vomiting, Headache, Abdominal pains, Coma.

2. Solid Objects: the size of a childs throat is not the same as that of an adult, so when you eat, do not force them to take the size of food you normally eat especially with fruits and solid foods. If you make them chew hard nuts, food etc. you will cause them to try swallowing it which then gets hooked in their throat and they will be unable to breath. When this happens, it takes only seconds for them to jump and collapse. This can occur even in adults with things like bones, kernels, nuts. When this occurs, this is what you should do within the next 3 minutes. When the child stops breathing for more than 4 minutes, brain damages start occurring. So be fast as possible while doing this.

Embrace the child/adult with your two arms and make sure your two hands meet at the middle of the childs/adults chest. You will stand behind the child/adult while doing this and the child/adult should be placed in a prostrating position and should be backing you.
With your hands tightly joined together, start pressing hard on the chest of the child/adult in a fast but regular manner especially the first push given to the chest should be hard because the remaining air in the lungs is used to push against the object closing the airway. This will force the object out and through the mouth. The pressing of the chest normally makes the child/adult to open the mouth spontaneously. This is done when the particle cannot be removed by hand. This technique can be done to save the life of both adults and children and is very effective for removing obstructed objects from the airway.

Photo of Preventing household accidents especially in children and the first aid needed to save a life

The picture above explains how to do this.