Only recently we read the news about a toddler in Thiruvananthapuram, who lost his life in a freak accident while trying to climb on to his father's jeep. There are times we think a little bit of attention could have made a world of difference. Ghastly accidents, especially those involving children, are often the result of minor oversights and inadvertence. Here are a couple of aspects to be kept in mind to keep children, the most precious of beings, safe around us.
If there is a thoroughfare near the house, the access of the child should be restricted by using a safety fence. The child should never be left unsupervised and it should always be ensure that the child can never step out alone. Gate should be kept latched and it should be beyond the accessible height of the child.
Food, poisonous fruits
Children tend to chew, ingest, and swallow whatever they lay hands on. If there are low-hanging fruits that are not edible, children should be kept away from reach. Ideally, the tree or plant should be relocated to a place inaccessible to the child. With edible fruits, adults should ensure that the nuts inside the fruit choke on the child. Even peanuts and other such things should be ground and given, if need be.
The deadly bucket
Even a bucketful of water can be deadly. We have come across many such instances of children getting into accidents. If there is a pond or waterbody nearby, children should not be allowed to venture out alone. Also, adults should not wade in to the water by allowing the child freely on the bank. A moment’s oversight could be dangerous.
As the adage goes, playing with fire is not a wise thing. There should be extreme caution when lighting candles. It should be kept away from the child. Plug points should be properly capped and sealed if they are placed lo on the wall. Heated iron rods, iron boxes, and other such equipment should also be kept away. Equipment like geyser should be of high quality as inferior could conduct electricity through the water tap.
This is one are which most adults ignore. Only child-safe toys should be given to children. The paint on toys could contain Lead and this is poisonous. Age-specific instructions with toys should be adhered to - if there are small parts, it should only be handled by children of a certain age or under adult supervision. Small batteries are highly risky. The chemicals in batteries can poke holes in the internal organs and cause fatal injuries. Sharp-edged toys should also be avoided. Children being given pens and pencils is another risky practice.
Children riding two-wheelers sandwiched between the rider and the pillion is a common sight on our roads. This is a risky business. Children should be told to exercise caution when they enter main roads on cycles from by-lanes.
Medicines, harmful chemicals
Medicines and drugs should be kept out of the reach of children. There have been many accidents where children accidentally ingested drugs and medicines. Paint thinner, vinegar, oils, etc. should also be locked up. Also, the containers should be properly labelled so that adults who handle it are in no dilemma. Cleaning fluids, acids, and abrasive substances should also be out of reach of children.
Things to be careful
» Children in cradles may get out and walk away at night. The room should be locked and the bathroom door bolted.
» Heavy articles like television, cupboards, and refrigerators that the child could possibly push over and cause harm should be secured properly.
» Children should not be adorned with rings and small ornaments. It could harm the child in more ways than one.
» It is safe to keep the child away from the kitchen, especially when heated oil and boiled water are being used.
» Ropes and long fabric that could strangle the child should be kept away.
(Inputs form K.R. Abhilash, District Fire and Safety Officer, Thrissur; and Dr. V. Santhi, Paediatrician, General Hospita, Alappuzha.)