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HOME:THE MOST VULNERABLE PLACE FOR CHILDREN TO GET INJURED. It would come as a surprise to anyone that one's home, considered a safe place for children compared to the roads and playgrounds, is the most common place where several minor and sometimes major life threatening injuries can occur. Around 90% of all children with injuries who attend the emergency room(ER) at Rainbow Children's Hospital have sustained some form of injury at home! Let's discuss the pattern of injuries and the simple ways to prevent such accidents which can sometimes cause permanent disability or even death. 1. CUTS AND BRUISES. Children can fall on a slippery floor and can have cuts over the face and chin by sharp edge of the wall or furniture. This can cause bleeding and can leave a permanent scar. PREVENTION: Keep floors dry and cover sharp edges whenever possible. 2. FINGER CRUSH INJURIES. Fingers can get crushed due to doors being shut suddenly over them especially on a windy day. This can cause minor contusion, injury to tendons of the finger or even finger amputation requiring reconstructive surgery. PREVENTION: Place door stoppers or at least place a towel over the door to prevent sudden complete closure of the door. 3. BURNS. Burns over various parts of the body can be caused due to fall of boiling water (in bathrooms and during steam inhalation), boiling milk, oil or hot liquids (in the kitchen). May require hospital admission and major ICU management for extensive burns and can lead to permanent scars. PREVENTION: Always be conscious about the child coming near hot liquids especially in kitchens. 4. HEAVY OBJECTS FALLING. Fall of heavy objects over the child. TVs are placed over unstable TV stands or over a shelf, where the child tries to change channels or play with the stand and the object falls over the child. Major head, chest and abdominal injuries are seen and some children underwent major surgeries for internal organ injury. PREVENTION: Have a firm stable stand or table. The ideal these days would be a wall mounted TV. 5. CORROSIVE INJURIES. Injuries are due to accidental ingestion of acids(battery fluids) or alkalies(bathroom cleaners). This causes severe internal burns in the food pipe and stomach and may require major reconstructive surgeries to correct the damage. PREVENTION: Keep such fluids out of reach of children and do not store these fluids in water bottles which is commonly mistaken for water and quickly ingested. 6. FALL FROM HEIGHT. Many children are bought to the emergency room with serious head injuries after falling from various floors generally while leaning from the balcony. Children sometimes climb over the railings, loose the balance and fall head down several floors. PREVENTION: Consider increasing the height of the railings in the balcony when small children are around. Unsupervised play in the balcony or roof should be avoided. 7. SWALLOWING MEDICINES. Inadvertent swallowing of medications meant for adults have landed many children with disastrous consequences. Tablets in bottles are mistaken to be chocolates and ingested by small children. PREVENTION: Keep all medications away from kids in a safe inaccessible place. 8. FOREIGN BODY ASPIRATION/INGESTION. Aspiration of small objects including nuts can cause sudden choking. Children around one to three years of age can place small objects in their mouths and these can get into the windpipe (trachea) and cause choking. Emergency Endoscopy (Bronchoscopy) may be required to remove the object from the windpipe. The most dangerous object which requires immediate removal from the food pipe within hours is a BUTTON CELL (BATTERY). These cells damage the wall of the food pipe within hours and cause major anatomical damage internally. PREVENTION: Keep the floors / tables / bed free of all small objects. 9. INJURIES DUE TO SHARPS. Injuries due to sharp objects like knife and needles. Inquisitive children like to experiment with sharp objects causing cuts over fingers or other body parts. PREVENTION: Keep knives and other sharp objects out of reach of small children.
MD (Peds), DCH, PGDHHM
Rainbow Children's Hospital, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad