Family safety and first aid is one important step every adult should be aware of. A razor, a knife, a knitting needle or a pair of scissors mishandled can pierce or cut the skin, eyes, or any other part of the body and may result in fatal injury too, especially if the item appears to be rusty which may lead to deadly tetanus. All these things should be strictly kept out of the reach of children. Even match boxes, cooking gas lighters, cigarette lighters need the same precautions. Some children have the hobby of collecting matchboxes of different types from different hotels but adults should ensure that matchsticks of those should be discarded under their supervision.

Besides kitchen forks, knives, scissors, can and bottle openers, there are other items in the household that are sharp and can hurt if not properly handled. Some of these are razors, swing needles and geometrical instruments. Other potentially dangerous household tools are hammers, chisels and screwdrivers. Children should be properly taught which and how of the above things to use or not. Sharp toys like bows, arrows and darts also need special attention.

Keep all toxic consumer products in their original containers. Keeping them in cups, milk bottles, mineral water, and soft drink bottles can result in their accidental ingestion which may prove harmful.

Some of the common household items which can pose a serious threat to a child’s life are:

Cleansing Agents

If a cleansing agent such as acid, alkali, ammonia or any other chemical has been used to clean the toilet, kitchen sink, bathtub or floors and the chemical is required to be left for a while to have its proper effect- then:

  • Lock the place for that duration.
  • Switch on the exhaust fan and maintain the proper ventilation.

Children should be strictly kept away from the vicinity of area where strong chemicals are in use or are accessible as they can spill chemicals over themselves or try to taste it and cause themselves a serious injury.

House lady should maintain the precautious measures because most cleansers have a corrosive and harmful effect on the body and even prompt medical treatments does not always remove all the scars caused by these chemicals; So appropriate safety items such as gloves, goggles, shoes should be worn at the time of their handling.

What To Do: If a child accidently comes in contact with such items, wash with cold water several times thoroughly to get rid of the last traces of cleansers.

Poisoning

A house contains many substances such as bleach, insecticides and paints that are highly dangerous to children. If a child or anybody swallows one, get medical help quickly.

Routes

  • Swallowing
  • Breathing
  • Injection

Family Safety And First Aid Management

  • Do not induce vomiting.
  • Lay him on his back on hard and flat bed.
  • No pillow
  • Turn the head on one side.

If Excessive Vomiting

  • Put to lie on his side.
  • One leg stretched and other leg bent at knee on thigh.
  • If breathing slowed or stopped: Artificial respiration

If Conscious

  • Induce vomiting (if corrosive poisons—do not induce vomiting).
  • Plenty of cold water to drink, which will delay absorption and replace fluid loss.
  • Milk is good for the purpose

Common Poisons

Aspirin

For First-Aid:

  • Induce vomiting
  • Sodium bicarbonate drink (one table spoonful to a tumbler of water)
  • Strong coffee/tea

Arsenic (Rat Poisons)

For First-Aid:

  • Induce vomiting

Carbon Monoxide

For First-Aid:

  • Artificial respiration
  • Oxygen inhalation

Sleeping Tablets

For First-Aid:

  • Induce vomiting (give magnesium-sulphate, 2 teaspoonfuls in a glass of water)
  • Hot coffee/tea
  • Keep the affected awake

Lead (From Hair Dyes)

For First-Aid:

  • Induce vomiting then magnesium sulphate in water

Insecticides

For First-Aid:

  • Vomiting
  • Artificial respiration

Acid

For First-Aid:

  • Do not induce vomiting
  • Water or sodium bicarbonate to drink

Alkalies

For First-Aid:

  • No vomiting
  • Water or tender coconut drinks or orange juice

Dettol And Phenol And Other Disinfectants

For First-Aid:

  • Do not induce vomiting
  • Magnesium Sulphate 4 teaspoonful in a liter of water

If a child swallows some household chemical:

Household chemicals contain many harmful substances such as bleach, insecticides and paints. Sometimes children out of curiosity swallow, if those substances are within reach. In such cases:

  • Get medical help immediately.
  • Try to discover what the substance is that swallowed is (if the child becomes unconscious, do not waste time unnecessarily).
  • If conscious, induce vomiting (not in case of corrosives).
  • If corrosive and burns, give water or milk to drink.
  • If unconscious (apply ABC rule if required) place him in recovery position

Drug Overdose

An overdose of any drug (either addictive or an ordinary medicine) is serious and requires urgent medical treatment. Symptoms of drug overdose include abnormal dilation or contraction of the pupils in the eyes, vomiting, and difficulty in breathing, unconsciousness, sweating and hallucinations.

If a person takes a deliberate or accidental overdose:

  • Ask the casualty what has happened. Obtain the information as soon as possible about the drug before the patient becomes unconscious.
  • Do not try to induce vomiting as it may be harmful and wastes time.

If the patient is unconscious put him in recovery position (it is explained above).

  • Call the ambulance.
  • Collect a sample of vomit near the patient and any bottles or pill containers that are near the patient and send them to hospital as an evidence to assist in the treatment.

Alcohol Poisoning

In an alcohol poisoning the casualty will have the following warning signs:

  • Alcoholic smelly breath.
  • Partly conscious or already unconscious.
  • Pulse rapid and weak.
  • Breathing will be shallow.
  • Eyes blood red.
  • Pupils may be dilated.

Management

  • Careful monitoring.
  • Give oxygen therapy.
  • Fluids given through a vein (intravenously) to prevent dehydration.
  • Use of vitamins and glucose to help prevent serious complications of alcohol poisoning.
  • If the patient is unconscious or vomiting, place him in the recovery position so that he doesn’t choke on his vomit. Complete ABC resuscitation if necessary.
  • Move to hospital as a stretcher case.

Gas Burners Or Heaters

Whenever you smell gas in the kitchen or house, do not turn on or off any light or any other electric appliance. Avoid lighting a match-stick, candle or cigarette. A single spark can lead to fire and an explosion. Do not panic.

Gas Leak

Your first priority must be to cut off the flow of gas.

If there is a smell of gas:

  • Turn off the main gas tap/lever next to the meter/cylinder
  • Open the doors and windows.
  • Put out cigarettes or naked flames and switch off electric appliances.
  • Get the unconscious person into the open air and put him in the recovery position.
  • Call your local area gas office immediately.
  • Do not try to trace the leak with a naked flame (match or lighter)
  • Do not enter a room or area where the smell of gas is especially strong. The buildup of fumes may overpower you.
  • Do not attempt repairs yourself.

A good vent, exhaust fan or windows are a must for kitchen for the easy dispersal of smoke, gases, food odors and other bad smells. Sufficient fresh air circulation should be ensured to prevent accumulation of carbon monoxide which can prove quite harmful for health.

Remember: Synthetic garments should never be worn while working near a stove or an open fire as they catch fire fast and while burning stick to the body. They cannot be removed without peeling off the skin and even some of the raw flesh underneath. This severely increases the hazards to which a burn patient is exposed already. A cotton apron must be worn on top of the synthetic clothes just like chefs.

Electrical Appliances

Every time you clean or empty a blender, mixer, grinder, toaster, power-lawn mower switch it off and pull the cord out of the power socket so that it is no longer connected to the power supply. This is to ensure that no one knowingly or unknowingly turns the power on while you are cleaning it.

  • Before using any electrical appliance or turning it on or off, make sure that your hands are dry. Remember, water is an excellent conductor of electricity.
  • Connect only one appliance to one socket. This will ensure that when one appliance is switched on, another does not get switched on the same time.
  • Keep water (and any dampness) away from all electrical fixtures. Do not use any appliance with wet hands or while standing on a wet floor.
  • Teach children never to put pins, pens, screwdrivers, matchsticks, toothpicks, needles, pencils or tools of any kind into electric sockets. This can give an electric shock.
  • When a socket is not in use, tape it tightly.
  • Do not place the TV or any other major electrical appliance close to a wall or near furniture. Allow sufficient space for air circulation so that the heat generated by the appliance can be dissipated.
  • Do not put any liquid or any food item on the TV. Spills can seep through the vents and cause a fire or shock as well as damage the TV.

Family Safety Management

Treatment of electric shock depends on the severity of the burns or the nature of other injuries found.

Burns Are Treated According To Severity

  • Minor burns may be treated with topical antibiotic ointment and dressings.
  • More severe burns may require surgery to clean the wounds or even skin grafting.
  • Severe burns on the arms, legs, or hands may require surgery to remove damaged muscle or even amputation.

Other injuries may require treatment

  • Eye injuries may require examination and treatment by an ophthalmologist, an eye specialist.
  • Broken bones require splinting, casting, or surgery to stabilize the bones.
  • Internal injuries may require observation or surgery.

Bee And Wasp Bites

Bee and wasps are the most harmful amongst all insects. Their stings have poison in small quantity. Some people could be very sensitive to this poison and develop severe reaction to it. The condition is diagnosed by the following features:

  • There is severe pain locally.
  • Itching and swelling develop around the central reddened puncture point.
  • Sting may be found in the wound.
  • Persons hypersensitive to the poison in the sting develop severe reaction characterized by fall in blood pressure and respiratory difficulty due to swelling in the throat and contraction of the windpipe. The victim may become unconscious, developing anaphylactic shock and may die if not treated in time.

Health And Safety

  • Remove the sting with tweezers, held as near to the skin as possible. An alternative method is to rub the skin in the affected area so that skin puncture enlarges a little and the sting comes out along with the poison around it. Do not squeeze the poison sac because this will force the remaining poison into the skin.
  • Apply ammonia, soda or methylene blue locally as antidote for bee venom.
  • Apply vinegar or lemon juice as antidote for wasp venom.
  • Apply a cold compress and spirit locally to relieve the pain and swelling.
  • For treatment of swelling caused by insect stings inside the mouth or throat, give ice to suck. Ask the victim to rinse the mouth with cold water or solution of water and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Place the victim in recovery position if breathing becomes difficult. Shift him to hospital immediately.