You’d think home is your little one’s safe haven, but in fact, for younger children, especially, home is the most dangerous place, says Dr. Tham Lai Peng.
As the senior consultant at the department of Emergency Medicine from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, she and her colleagues attend to about 470 young patients for their injuries every day. Most accidents occurred at home – and could have been prevented.
Keep a close eye on her for three days after she suffers a head injury, says Dr. Tham.
Take her to the Emergency Department immediately if you notice any drowsiness, changes in behaviour such as irritability, disorientation and confusion, unsteady gait, and unusual eye movements. Or, if there’s any vomiting, bleeding from the ears or nose, or weakness of arms.
What you want to rule out are skull fractures and brain injuries that can be serious. While monitoring your baby, avoid giving her medication that may cause drowsiness.
Never leave your young child unattended on an adult bed or other high surfaces, even if you think she is asleep.
If you must walk away for a while, always leave her in the cot or playpen instead.
Once your toddler moves to her big-kid bed, install bed rails to prevent falls.
Water play is great fun, but it can also be very dangerous. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of injury death for young children aged 1 to 4.
Pull your little one from the pool and call for an ambulance immediately.
While waiting, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if he or she isn’t breathing or doesn’t have a pulse, advises Dr. Andrea Yeo, consultant at National University Hospital’s Children’s Emergency. Stop if there is some breathing or a faint pulse. The next step is to continue to monitor his or her vital signs – breathing and level of consciousness – every two minutes.
Watch your child when he or she is near any body of water, no matter how shallow it is – young children can drown in water that is only a few centimetres deep.
Cordon off fish ponds, water features and private swimming pools with a fence or gate, says Dr. Yeo. After using an inflatable wading pool, always empty the remaining water and deflate it, she adds.
She might have a fracture, especially if her cry sounds like a sharp scream when you touch the affected limb, says Dr. Yeo.
Take her to the hospital for an assessment; she might need an X-ray. Before that, make a sling to support her arm – you can improvise with a broad-fold bandage or a soft towel. Secure the arm to her body with the sling while on the way to the hospital, says Ambrose Lee, senior training instructor at Singapore Red Cross Academy.
If it’s her leg, however, do not move her. There is a chance the broken thigh bone could cut a large artery. Call for an ambulance immediately.
Never put your little one in a baby walker, warns Dr. Yeo. It can tip her over and cause multiple injuries.
Baby-proof your home by installing safety gates to block her access to the stairs, and keep the floor uncluttered to prevent tripping, she adds.
Wipe spills immediately, and use secure rubber mats in the bathtub and shower areas to prevent slipping.
By Eveline Gan, The Finder, last updated January 2017
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