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Accident-prone kids, your responsibility

Dr Jacqueline Campbell

Sunday, May 11, 2014    

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ACCIDENTS are common in children as they develop and explore their world. Also, the age and stage of children's development are closely related to the types of accidents children have.

Children under four years old tend to have most of their accidents at home.

The majority of non-fatal accidents experienced by children are as a result of falls while the highest number of deaths is due to fire.

BABIES 0-1 YEAR OLD

* Suffocating and choking: Babies can swallow, breathe in or choke on small objects like toys, peanuts and marbles.

* Falls: These can happen if the baby is left on a raised surface.

* Burns and scalds: These are possible if the baby is left near hot objects like drinks, water, light bulbs, hairdryers, irons, and fires.

* Poisoning: Babies have a natural instinct to suck anything that comes into contact with their mouth.

CHILDREN 1-4 YEARS OLD

Toddlers can move very quickly, so accidents often happen in seconds. As children get older they will explore more, which means they are more likely to have cuts and bruises.

* Burns and scalds: Domestic fires pose one of the greatest risks to children. Children playing with matches and lighters frequently start house fires.

* Poisoning: By 18 months or earlier, children can open containers, and by three years old, they may also be able to open child-resistant tops. The most common causes of poisoning in young children are drugs, vitamin supplements, cleaning products, make-up, pesticides, plants, paints and solvents.

The Caribbean Poison Information Network (CARPIN) states that one of the main causes of poisoning in Jamaican children 0-5 years is that of adults placing pesticides and chemicals in food lookalike containers such as soda, syrup or other juice bottles.

Dr Jacqueline E Campbell is a university lecturer and family physician. She is the author of the book A patient's guide to the treatment of diabetes mellitus.

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