Home safety hazards cause spike in child hospitalisations
More than 50 per cent of children aged 0-4 who attended an emergency department in 2020-21 were injured at home. Here are the most common hazards and how to child-proof your home.
Remember the adage: most accidents happen in the home? Well, when it comes to children, some of the dangers are hiding in plain sight.
New research by Monash University Accident Research Centre’s Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit reveals that 54.3 per cent of children who presented at hospital emergency departments and 29 per cent of those who were admitted to hospital in 2020-21 were hurt in the home.
In 2020/21 there were a total of 14,578 admissions and at least 94,483 ED presentations for unintentional injury among children (0-14) at Victorian hospitals, with children aged 0 to 4-years-old accounting for 12 per cent of all injury admissions.
Overall hospital admission spiked by 2.2 per cent compared with a decade ago.
The hospital admissions data showed that falls were the leading cause of injury for young children (43.3 per cent), followed by hit/struck/crush injuries (16.2 per cent), and foreign objects entering the body (5.9 per cent). These hazards most often caused fractured arms (22.6 per cent), open head wounds (11.8 per cent), and concussions (8.2 per cent).
And if you’re the parent of young boys, watch out. Males accounted for 62 per cent of hospital admissions and 58.5 per cent of ED presentations.
While many dangers around the home can be easily eliminated with a bit of common sense, RACV Product Manager Property Inspections, Premika Banerjee, says it takes a trained eye to spot some hazards.
"It’s important to have a good look around your home to try to identify potential risks such as tripping hazards, dangerous curtain cords, drowning risks with pools, unsecured bookshelves and even low-lying medicine cabinets,” she says.
“These are some of the most common safety issues we encounter in our Child Safety Inspection Property Checks.”
To help protect your children from injury and reduce their chances of ending up in hospital emergency departments, we’ve pulled together a guide to the most common home safety hazards and what you can do to child-proof against them.