'Most accidents happen in the home'

Home is meant to be a place where children and adults feel safe, yet more than 75percent of accidents involving children happen in the home.

Home is meant to be a place where children and adults feel safe, yet more than 75percent of accidents involving children happen in the home.

According to information from the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Southern Africa, accidents that happen at home are among the leading cause of death in children under the age of 14 in South Africa. At least six percent of annual child deaths are caused by these accidents, of which burns from hot liquids are the most common.

"Unfortunately, your home is the place where accidents are most likely to occur," says Robyn Farrell, of First for Women.

She says the other most common causes of injuries and deaths among children in the home are fire, suffocation, drowning, falls, poisoning and accidental firearm shootings.

"While adults do their best to make homes safe, precautions must be taken with pools, baths, ponds, heat and flames, toxic substances such as medicines, detergents and pesticides and places where there is a potential for a fall such as stairs, balconies and high windows," she says.

Farrell encourages adults to keep a watchful eye whenever children are around.

"Accidents occur quickly, often when adults are distracted. We need to supervise children at all times. It does not matter how child-proof you think your home is.

"In an instant your toddler can grab the handle of a hot pot from the stove or put something they shouldn't in their mouth. We need to be prepared for accidents.

"It's a good idea to learn CPR, to have a fully equipped first aid kit and also to make sure that the emergency numbers of your doctor, nearest hospital and poison control centre are accessible."

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