When you have toddlers running around the house, minor accidents are bound to happen. No matter how careful you are, you can’t stop them and it is okay. It is a part and parcel of life and doesn’t mean that you are a bad parent. But to know how to handle these minor accidents is very important.

Your child can be injured anywhere in or around the home but most household accidents occur frequently in the living or the dining room. Serious accidents can occur in the kitchen and on the stairs. Always watch out for things and tools such as hot water, household chemicals (floor detergents, toilet cleaners, etc.), fireplaces, and sharp objects. Your child might unknowingly pick these objects or might want to play with them but these can pose a potential threat.

Remember that a first-aid box comes in handy in case of minor accidents at home. A first-aid box is an essential medical kit in every home, car, office, or while you are traveling, especially with your child. A first-aid kit or box is a collection of medical supplies and equipment used to give immediate treatment and relief.

Here is a list of common household accidents that can happen to your child and how to manage them.

1. Trips and Falls

Your child loves running around the house and you love watching him/her play. Unfortunately, tripping and falling while running is one of the most common accidents that can happen to your child. The first thing to do is to encourage your child to get up with a few soothing words and appreciate him/her for doing so.

  • If there are minor scratches on the knee or the hands,  clean it with an antiseptic liquid (a liquid that protects against infection and can be used for the treatment of cuts, wounds, insect bites and stings, boils, and spots) and apply a soothing ointment.  Your child will be fine within a day or two. The antiseptic liquid or the ointment may burn but it should be fine after a few seconds.

  • Sometimes a fall that isn’t serious can also lead to nasty bruises that can be painful for your child. Apply a cold pack or wrap a few ice cubes in a thick towel and apply on the affected area to reduce swelling. 

  • If the fall has led to a broken bone and your child is not able to move his/her limbs and has a lot of pain, rush your child to the doctor. Seek advice from your paediatrician and consult an orthopaedician immediately.

  • If your child has tripped over a fallen object or the carpet or a piece of furniture and hurt himself/herself, then clean the wounds, if any, and apply an ointment. Keep away any loose electrical wires, tablecloth edges, and dish towels out of reach in order to help prevent accidents from happening.

2. Stair Falls

Another common household accident that you need to be more careful of is stair falls, as a small event can change into a dreadful accident. 

  • If the fall is from one or two steps and has not hurt the child’s head or any other body part,  then there is nothing much to worry about. Clean your child’s wounds, if any, and apply a soothing ointment. 

  • If your child has fallen from a couple of stairs and has hurt his/her head, neck, back, or spine, then your child will have to be checked by an orthopaedician and he/she might also require trauma care (in case your child is in a shock after the fall). 

  • Rush your child to a trauma center if he/she is experiencing these symptoms after the fall - difficulty breathing, bleeding or swelling, headache, nausea, or vomiting.

  • The only way to prevent stair falls is to educate your child and let him/her know how to play carefully and not jump or skip steps while climbing up or down. Be careful and keep a watch whenever your child is playing on the stairs. Ensure there is no water, oil, or any soapy detergent left on the stairs to prevent stair falls. 

3. Burns

Burns are the most painful of all minor accidents. Damage to the skin or deeper tissues caused by the sun, hot liquids, fire, electricity, or chemicals is known as a burn. Burns are a common household accident, especially among children.

  • If your child suffers a minor burn, keep the area under running water rather than keeping an ice pack as it will cause blisters (raised, fluid-like bubbles or pockets on your skin). Keep the area clean and take the child to the emergency unit immediately. Check with your paediatrician and warp your child’s burn with a clean plastic bag or a cling film to protect it from further irritation and to help the burn heal. You can also choose to cover the burned area with a clean bandage that will not stick to the burned site.

  • Keep your child away from open fires, cookers, irons, hair straighteners, matches, and hot water, as these can be dangerous too. 

4. Cuts

Your child may get a cut from falls or using sharp objects like scissors. Some cuts can be safely treated at home. Follow these tips to manage cuts in your child at home:

  • To stop minor bleeding from a small cut, rinse the wound and clean any dirt. Cover the wound with an adhesive bandage (also called a sticking plaster, or medical plaster, it is a kind of medical dressing to protect wounds from friction, dirt, or bacteria) or tape. If the bandage gets wet from the blood, remove it and apply a new one. After your child’s wound dries up, a bandage isn't needed. Check the wound every day.

  • To stop bleeding from a larger or a deep cut, rinse off the wound and check the size of the cut. Cover the wound with a clean cloth or a sterile gauze (basic first aid tool used to stop bleeding and keep wounds clean). Apply direct pressure to the wound for 5 minutes and then check if the bleeding has stopped.If blood soaks through the gauze, do not remove it. Apply another gauze pad on top and continue applying pressure. Seek immediate medical help if your child’s bleeding does not stop after applying pressure for 5 to 10 minutes.

5. Sprains 

A sprain is when a ligament, which connects parts of a joint, is stretched, twisted, or torn. The most common parts of your child’s body affected by a sprain include the knees, ankles, and wrists. 

An ankle or a knee sprain can occur when your child is either walking, playing, running, stepping onto something without noticing or while putting the weight down on his/her foot awkwardly.

  • If your child has a sprain, apply an ice pack for about 10-15 minutes to reduce swelling.

  • Let your child take complete rest and avoid walking or running too much if the sprain is causing pain.

  • If the pain does not reduce after 2 days and is debilitating, it is advisable to get your child checked with the doctor.

You can never be too safe, so just be prepared for any upcoming accidents. Always have a first-aid box at home and make sure it contains all supplies, specifically for your child’s minor household accidents. Check with your paediatrician and buy a paediatric first-aid kit if necessary. Be watchful, as much as possible, when your child is playing but do not be too scared. Allow your child to run and play around and have some fun!

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.