How can we avoid the risk of accidents at home for our children? Let’s learn by thinking ahead…
“Do not put your fingers in the sockets!”, “Careful not to slip” and, again, “Sit still.” How many times did we hear these commands as children?!
Children grow and, in doing so, they have experiences, explore, run, touch, and sometimes expose themselves to risks that endanger their safety and, consequently, their health. Adults are not, however, always aware of these dangers, because, when you are at home, you feel safe and protected. It is hard to think that the greatest number of accidents occur at home.
According to estimates published by the Italian Statistics Institute (ISTAT) in 2009, according to a multi-purpose survey in 2007:
– around 2.8 million people were injured (with a total of around 3.3 million accidents in the home)
– this rate of accidents was equal to 11.9 per 1000 inhabitants were injured on a quarterly basis: 47.6 injuries per 1000 inhabitants per year.
The people who are most likely to have accidents at home, of course it is those who spend the most time at home, namely:
– Women of all ages, after childhood
– Elderly people who, from the age of 65, who become gradually more at risk as they age
– Children up to 5 years
– People who are seeking employment
– People with lower levels of education
Children are particularly taken to danger, both because of the characteristics of their personalities (impulsivity, a need to move and explore, inability to perceive risks and hazards), and because of issues related to their growth and neurosensory development (their limited field of vision, impaired perception of the direction of sound, their inability to understand symbols and abstract concepts).
It is therefore important that adults know situations at home which could cause risks, so that they can be predicted and prevented, remembering that each age group faces specific dangers (and thus specific need for attention).
What accidents at home difficult to prevent is, firstly, the great variety of home dynamics in which they occur and, secondly, the child’s gradual acquisition of new skills which come before anticipated. In order to be able to “get there first”, we need a skills base on safety in home environments. Information campaigns, combined with training courses for parents and teachers, have been put forward as methods to prevent accidents for children.
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Veneto Region published a website dedicated to parents, to prevent accidents with children. Between 2007 and 2009, this became a National Project and has been included in the Italian national programme, Gaining Health. The web portal www.genitoripiu.it (parents plus) provides useful information on the development and evaluation of child health and safety provisions and includes downloadable guides in several languages.
With the aim of contributing to the growth of awareness of health and safety for children, Zoe is also holding a course in prevention of accidents. In two lectures open to all (reservation required), the course provides guidance on the steps to take to prevent everyday accidents at home and on the road, and on how to intervene quickly in case of emergency.
Following the meeting of Wednesday 3rd December. Its aim is to increase knowledge and understanding for families and educators of risk factors prevention strategies and steps in intervention in case of accidents at home and on the road. Dr. Silvia Manea of the Veneto Regional Observatory of Child Pathology will lead the course. The second and final lesson of the course will be held on Wednesday 17th December, which discuss how to prevent and treat choking, with Dr. Maddalena Facco.