Statistics from the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital’s Child Health Department indicates that domestic accidents among children under the age of five years are on the ascendency.
The statistics also shows that accidental poisoning averaged four times a month for the first half of the year. However the figures have almost doubled over the last two months. These figures exclude burns and other home accidents.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), child injuries are a global public health problem. In 2011, WHO estimates that over 630 000 children under the age of 15 were killed by an injury.
The WHO report also indicates that injuries are the leading cause of death, and in many countries the leading cause of death, for children after their first birthday.
There is also high morbidity associated with childhood injuries: for every injured child who dies, there are several thousand children who live on with varying degrees of disability. A large proportion of these injuries (for example, drowning, burns, poisoning, falls) occur in or around the home.
Resident Doctor at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital’s Child Health Department, Dr. Hilda Mantebea Boye, told Adom News that children under the age of five are most likely to have an accident at home because they are very curious and explore a lot. Children within this age also lack the ability to distinguish between safe and dangerous.
Hilda Mantebea Boye
She discloses that the children were mostly reported to have taken deadly chemicals such as DDT, bleach, blade, super glue, rat poison and other deadly chemicals.
Dr. Boye says that though the hospital has not recorded any death in the cases reported, the disability that ensues may be irreversible. Depending on the poisons taken, the cost of treatment may be very expensive.
Dr. Boye added that accidental injuries in and around the home are part of the leading causes of serious disability and death among young children.
“Parents must keep harmful chemicals at home away from the reach of children to avoid such accidents. If possible such chemicals should be kept under lock and key,” Dr. Boye advised.
“Parents should also closely supervise their toddlers as they explore their environment to ensure their safety,” she stressed.
Dr. Boye further advised parents and caregivers to report such home accidents to the nearest hospitals for treatment. Parents and caregivers should not give children who have accidentally taken poisons palm oil as it can make them vomit and worsen their condition.
She also advised parents to carry along containers of poisons taken to hospital for easy identification of the chemical to aid in finding the antidote to treat the children.
Babies from around four months old may be able to sit, crawl and put things in their mouth as they grow. As they get older, they're able to walk and move about, reach things higher up, climb, and find hidden things.
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