Parenting: 10 common domestic accidents likely to happen at home and how to deal with them

1. Burning

This is one of the common accidents found at home. While guardians and parents are encouraged to keep hot liquids away from children, sometimes the children just can’t keep away.

Now, if scalding were to happen, God forbid, any first degree burn should be held under cool (not cold) running water until the pain subsides.

If running water is not available, use wet compresses.

Remove any clothing or jewellery near the scalded area but do not try to pull out any thing stuck on the burn.

Cover the burn with a non- stick dressing and change it everyday.

Treat the pain from the scald with an over the counter pain reliever.

However, if the burns affects all the layers of the skin and extends to the hands,feet genitals and face, rush to the nearest hospital.

Note that for electrical burns, the patient should see a doctor right away because they may cause serious injuries inside the skin that may not be visible on the skin.

A chemical burn should be washed with large amounts of water. Take off any clothing that has the chemical on it. Don’t put anything on the burn area. This might start a chemical reaction that could make the burn worse.

2. Choking

Always advise your child to avoid putting objects in their mouth to suckle or chew on.

Signs of a child choking are:

  • Inability to breathe
  • Gasping/Wheezing
  • Seems panicked
  • Can’t talk or cry or make noise
  • Grabs at the throat and waves arms

Do not try to take out whatever is choking the child as this could push the object further.

If the child is coughing loudly, encourage them to carry on coughing to bring up what they’re choking on and don’t leave them.

If the child is conscious, but is not coughing or their coughing isn’t effective, use back blows.

For babies under 1 year

  • Sit down and lay your baby face down along your thighs.
  • Supporting their head with your hand.
  • Give up to 5 sharp back blows with the heel of 1 hand in the middle of the back between the shoulder blades.

If back blows don’t relieve the choking and your baby or child is still conscious, give chest thrusts to infants under 1 year or abdominal thrusts to children over 1 year.

This will create an artificial cough, increasing pressure in the chest and helping to dislodge the object.

Chest thrusts are performed by laying the baby on their back. Then put two fingers in the centre of the chest, and give up to five chest thrusts – like CPR compressions but slower and sharper. Check to see if the blockage has cleared between each thrust.

If baby is still choking, alternate five back blows and five chest thrusts as you rush to the nearest hospital.

3. Falls

Great caution should be upheld in the house. Avoid slippery floors or invest in non-skid rubber mats in such places as bathrooms and /or kitchens.

Also keep the floor off tripping hazards.

People who live in high floors on flats or apartments should also ensure that the children walk along the verandahs and stairs under supervision.

Falls are common in homes and can lead to concussions or broken bones injuries.

If a child falls, take the following steps.

  • Control your emotion. Be calm and and do not scream or overreact. This will ease the child’s fears or prevent an exaggeration of reactions that could cost you uneccessary expenses.
  • In case of any bleeding,apply firm pressure directly over the injury with a clean cloth for five to 10 minutes.
  • A cold pack placed on the injury will help with lain and swelling.

Signs of a serious injuries from a fall: are:

  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Extreme irritability or crying
  • Refusal to breastfeed or breastfeeding for short periods of time
  • Vomiting

If the above symptoms are seen even long after the fall, visit a doctor as this will need urgent care.

4. Cuts

To avoid cuts, keep sharp knives or razors away from the children.

Always have a first aid kit in the house, replacing replenished items such as surgical spirit and bandages.

In case of any minor cut,

  • Clean the wound by flushing it with tap water and soap
  • Dab on an antibiotic ointment and put on a bandage.
  • If you see blood through the bandage, then apply direct pressure for 15 minutes
  • Raise the injured body part to slow bleeding.
  • When bleeding stops, cover the wound with a new, clean bandage.

If the bleeding cannot still be stopped even after 15 minutes, see a doctor.

If a body part, such as a finger, is cut off, put the part that was cut off in a sealed plastic bag right away. Put the bag in a container with ice water.

5.Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

If a child has had a low-level exposure to common monoxide for a prolonged time period, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Aggressiveness
  • Diarrhea

More severe symptoms may include:

  • Difficult, rapid breathing
  • Blue/grey skin appearance
  • Low response level, unresponsiveness

Steps to take when a child is exposed to carbon monoxide,

  • Let the child leave the area and get fresh air immediately.
  • Turn off the carbon monoxide source only if you can do so safely without endangering yourself or others.
  • Call for help
  • If your child has stopped breathing, start CPR and do not stop until your child breathes on his/her own or someone else can take over.

6. Detergent Poisoning

It’s always advisable to put these laundry products away from children’s reach. Bathing should also be supervised as children have been seen to take bites of soap while bathing.

Detergents can cause mouth, skin, or eye irritation. Serious injuries are not common from liquid and dry detergents but can occur.

Swallowing small amounts of bleach can cause mouth irritation and vomiting. More serious problems are unlikely unless someone swallows a large amount of bleach.

If the product is in the eyes or on the skin in just small amounts, flush with running water for at least 15 minutes, then call your doctor.

If the product is swallowed in small amounts, give a small amount of water or milk. 

Continue monitoring them for any serious signs but they will just be ok if the soap/detergent/bleach was a small quantity.

In the case of swallowing large amounts of detergent/bleach , symptoms that may occur are:

  • difficulty breathing
  • swelling of the throat, lips, and tongue
  • chemical burns on the skin
  • vision loss, if the soap product has burned the eyes
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting repeatedly or with blood
  • burns to the food pipe
  • severe stomach pain
  • low blood pressure 

Do not give the child anything to drink which could induce vomiting and burn their airways further.

Take the child to hospital immediately.

7.Kerosene poisoning

Breathing large quantities of kerosene vapour or drinking kerosene-based liquids may cause non-specific signs such as dizziness, headache
and vomiting.

Repeated skin exposure may result in dermatitis (eczema).

A short, one-off exposure to kerosene is unlikely to result in any long-term effects.

However, a severe form of lung injury called pneumonitis may occur if liquid
kerosene is inhaled directly into the lungs, for example, whilst manually siphoning a tank or from inhaling vomit after swallowing kerosene.

This is why it is important not to make
someone vomit if they have swallowed a kerosene product.

Following an ingestion of the substance, immediately give the child water or milk to drink.

Rush the child to hospital for the doctor to rule out any serious problems caused by the ingestion.


This is for you too with no swimming pool at home,( for now of course. Good things coming ahead,right!)

Back to serious business.

Children could even drown in a bucket of water. So keep those toddlers away from your washing area.

Young children can drown in less than two inches of water. The toilet bowl falls under that category too.

Always watch your child closely when they are near any water body.

If you find a child in water, get them out as quickly as possible.

Check that the child’s air passages are clear.

If the child is not breathing call for help and try CPR.

CPR is simply done this way:

  1. Place the person on their back, and kneel by their side.
  2. Place the heel of one of your hands on the center of the person’s chest, and place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand. Lace your fingers together.
  3. Keeping your elbows straight, compress the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.

To have effective chest compressions, the person performing CPR should push down at least 2 inches deep. In this process, they should allow complete rise of the chest after the compression to ensure appropriate perfusion, or blood flow.

If you leave near water bodies such as lakes, ponds, it’s wise too to invest in swimming lessons for your children.

9. Inserting foreign objects in the nose

Children are experimental. They may insert all kinds of things in their noses or ears.

Small pieces of crayons, beans, peas, watch batteries, tissue paper etc.

If you did not see your child put anything in their nose, but you suspect there might be a problem, watch for these signs:

  • Drainage from one nostril only
  • High fever
  • Bad smell from one nostril

Do not push cotton swabs or fingers in the nostrils to avoid pushing the objects further inside.

Stop them from sniffing as this could could have the same effect too.

Encourage the child to breath through the mouth too until the object is removed from the nostril.

Remedy 1 : Get the child to blow their nose

Have your child take a deep breath in. Plug their clear nostril so air can only go out through the nostril with the foreign object in it. Have them blow out. Have a pair of tweezers ready.

However, tweezers are used on larger objects. Tweezers may push smaller objects farther up the nose.

Remedy 2: Mother’s kiss

Place your mouth over your child’s mouth.

Hold the nostril that isn’t blocked closed with a finger.

Blow gently into your child’s mouth.

Remedy 3: Cucu’s sneeze style

African grandma’s will swear by this style. They would block the clear nostril with a finger and then pass tobacco near the open nostril and then “hatchioooo!” Out came the foreign object!

Of course many of us don’t keep tobacco in our houses but you could try some Coke cola soda.

Avoid several attempts to dislodge the object from the nose. Take the child to hospital if any of the method above fails. Objects that contain chemicals eg batteries require more urgent attention.

10. Inserting foreign objects in the ear

Do not attempt to dislodge any object yourself unless you can see it clearly from the outside.

Small objects sometimes can fall out of the ear canal with the help of gravity if the ear is turned toward the ground so you can try to encourage the child to gently shake his or her own head while holding his or her head so the ear faces down.

Never shake a child in an effort to dislodge an object from the ear.

You can try to pull out cotton or paper using tweezers or your fingers, but a doctor, who has all the necessary tools, should remove most objects.

If there is an insect in the ear canal, never push your finger into the ear because the insect may sting or bite. Turn the head so the affected ear faces up. The insect may crawl out on its own but if it doesn’t, place a few drops of mineral oil into the ear. This will suffocate the insect.

Your doctor then can remove the insect by flushing out the ear canal with clean water.

Multiple attempts of foreign object removal from the ears are associated with increased risk of pain, bleeding, patient anxiety, loss of cooperation, and serious otologic complications. 

Threfore a few failed attempts should get you going to the hospital for medical help.

Disclaimer : All content created on are created for informational purposes. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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