Happening now / Featured video


Friday, March 13, 2009

30 Instructions Against Child Accidents for Parents

My frequent recent visits to a hospital reminded me of the various reasons people end up in hospitals. The health care system in Greece is in bad shape, partly because of our own carelessness that sometimes gets us in need of health services due to accidents that could very well have been avoided, thus unduly increasing costs and, more importantly, reducing quality of life.

This is a translated summary by the creator (here is the full version in Greek, with illustrations) of a leaflet printed in Messolonghi, Greece in the early 1990s by the Health Service. It was distributed to parents to aid the prevention of home accidents. The leaflet's writer has used the first results of a large statistical research that started in 1986, sponsored by the European Union (EHLASS: European Home and Leisure Accidents Surveillance System). I am sure that this is useful for parents of other countries, too (visit EU's Injury prevention web page for more). If measures like the following are not taken, the house will continue to be a more dangerous place than any workplace.

30 Instructions for Parents


See that your home is not a very dangerous environment


  1. Infants should be supervised every minute.

  2. Let everyone of us visit again one’s own home as inspector. Let us look around and be assured that we have not left near a child:
    • things smaller than 5 cm,
    • articles which can cut or pierce,
    • matches,
    • medicines,
    • glassware.

  3. Lock chemical liquids. Caustic soda in bottles of cleaners can kill or condemn a child to a series of operations. Also chlorine, kerosine, naphtha, alcoholic drinks are common causes of poisoning. Don’t put a dangerous liquid out of its proper bottle into another bottle or glass, even with a label. Labels are good for grown-ups only.

  4. Don’t leave alone a baby with the milk bottle. Suffocation can happen also with soft pillows. Don’t tie long cords or strings to the milk bottle or the nipple or onto the craddle or the park of a baby. These might wind round his or her neck. Plastic bags should also have holes in the bottom, because children put them round their head.

  5. Fasten the baby on the high chair so that standing up would be impossible. Do not put the high chair near the table, because thje baby with a kick could cause falling with the chair.

  6. When you have the baby in the bathtub don’t leave it to answer the phone or open the door. Don’t put hot water in the bathtub before the cold water. A child may enter the tub meanwhile and be burned.

  7. Keep always a protective grate in front of the fireplace. Remember though that the most frequent cause of child burns has been shown to be spilling coffee or tea or soup or frying oil on babies/children when an adult is alone with them while serving or cooking.

  8. Use the sensitive automatic switch in the central electricity board of the house to prevent electrocution.

  9. To prevent drowning at sea:
    • teach swimming to children
    • everybody swim only two hours after a main meal
    • remind children that the height of diving has a vital relation with the depth of the sea , which they have to cheque each time.
    • remind children that the depth of the sea changes in the same place.
    • see that life-saving means exist
    • learn artificial respiration mouth-to-mouth.

    Authorities should be notified when criss-crafts pass near swimmers at the beach, this is a potential terrible crime.

  10. When toddlers move around, don’ t leave things in the middle of the room or cables hanging along. Thus you avoid bad falls.

  11. Control the brakes of the bicycles.

  12. In houses with infants put a gate in the upper end of staircases. Close this safely.

  13. Stick paper lines or other signs on big glass panes of doors, so it can be seen that they are closed. Serious cuts have occurred
    when running children or other persons try to pass through such clean glass panes, which are invisible.

  14. Teach children not to put their fingers in the edge of doors of cars or rooms. Have in mind the common danger of fingers pressed by doors.

  15. Don’t pull with force the arm of a child in the street to protect him (her). Many parents have caused arm dislocation in this way.

  16. Builders should pull out all nails from planks. Boys use to visit construction sites and often step on nails.

  17. Schoolchildren should be supervised better when they have break at school or when they go up and down stairs. Nasty practical jokes, tripping up, the spirit of domination and violence cause accidents of pupils with results which surpass the knowledge of a child.

  18. Teachers at school should not give big and heavy balls to small children. The EHLASS Research revealed the frequency of finger injuries due to big balls. Parents can help to prevent this.

  19. Parent unions could see that playground equipment would be properly selected by specialists and well preserved. A guard should always be present in municipality playgrounds. Older children need a special supervision there.

  20. Be alert when the children exercise in climbing on trees. Especially fig-trees in Greece have been shown to cause falls.

  21. Advise children not to throw fruit peels on the road, which - apart of cleanliness - can cause very dangerous falls to themselves or other people.

  22. Dogs bite and terrify children and adults. Owned dogs should be accompanied and stray dogs must be collected.

  23. Children are taught mainly by the examples we give them. Avoid climbing on chairs or on aladder without help to chainge abulb or hang the curtains. Don’t open the tap of the car radiator, when the water is boiling. Bad burns of the thorax, throat or face have occurred in this way.

  24. Put vertical parallel railings in the balconies. Avoid horizontal bars or decorations. Avoid railings lower than 90 cm. Correct wrong railings with special plastic nets in houses where children live or come. Don’ t leave chairs near the edge of the balcony by the railing.

  25. Don’t polish floors with slippery wax. Avoid small carpets or thin mats, otherwise fix them on the floor steadily. In building a house avoid making internal surfaces to communicate with just one step (if the step is low it is even more dangerous). These warnings have to do with falls of people of all ages.

  26. Fireworks can cause injuries (burns or even amputations). See that the existing regulations are strictly followed.

  27. Bathtubs often cause nasty falls. Until all bathtubs are made with a non-slippery suface, put a special rubber mat on the bottom of your bathtub.

  28. Heavy cases of burns have been reported when a child (or some body else) has used methylated spirit (alcohol) to light a barbecue fire by pressing the plastic bottle. So fire has been transmitted to the whole bottle and then to the body. Remember this. Buy glass bottles of methylated spirit.

  29. All big refrigerators (for meat, furs etc.) should be made in such a way that opening from inside would be possible. Deaths from lack of oxygen have been reported of children which have entered to play in refrigerators that open only from outside. Same accidents have happened with locking trunks.

  30. Don’ t leave loaded guns in the reach of children, because they try them and have killed other children or grown-ups. Hunters should keep all rules concerning their rifles. Policemen also should never leave pistols unlocked. Unfortunately this kind of tragedy is not rare in some european countries.

  31. Think of other measures costumed for your own home.
Emmanuel Tselikas, M.D.

No comments:

Post a Comment