The Department of Emergency Medicine at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) sees an estimated 28,700 children presenting with injuries of all severities, in a year. This makes up about 15 to 17 per cent of all children seeking medical attention in the KKH's Children's Emergency. More than half of these injuries occur from falls. Many of these injuries, especially those in the home, are potentially preventable if adequate precautions are put in place.
Different types of childhood injuries
There are different types of childhood injuries. They include:
For example, among children aged 2 years and younger who present to the KKH’s Children’s Emergency with head injuries, almost 90 per cent of these take place in the home, and up to half of these occur in the bedroom.
Burn injury is common among toddlers
Young children are particularly vulnerable to burn injuries at home. Burn injuries can include the following:
A scald is the most common type of burn injury. Toddlers can scald themselves when they reach for a hot flask or pull on the cords of electrical appliances that contain hot liquids. Older children may scald themselves during mealtimes or while helping out in the kitchen.
Most of these burns take place in the home, specifically the kitchen. Burn injuries can result in pain and scarring of the skin. If the burn is severe, the child may require admission to hospital and intravenous fluid replacement.
How to prevent childhood injuries
Most childhood injuries are preventable. One of the most important steps you can take to protect your child from injury is to ensure that he or she is always supervised by an adult. All caregivers also need to learn child safety tips for the home, playground and other outdoor play venues.
Children need close and undistracted adult supervision since an injury can occur within minutes of a child being out of sight. However, play is important for development and children should be free to play in a safe and monitored environment.
An effective preventive measure is to child-proof the home. You can child-proof your home in the following ways:
Falls from the adult bed is a common cause for head injuries among children aged 2 years and younger. A young child should not be left alone unsupervised, on an adult bed.
What to do if your child gets injured
Any injury, however minor, warrants an evaluation of the circumstances leading to the injury, in order to implement preventive measures for a repeat, possibly more severe injury in future.
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