Domestic accidents: children, adults, the most common, what to do?

Representing Domestic Accidents more than half of daily accidents (Ac-VC) and mainly affects children and the elderly. The consequences are often mild, but can be more dramatic and even fatal. We make an inventory of the most important preventive measures and first aid actions.

Definition: what is a home accident?

Burns, falls, suffocation… Domestic accidents are considered daily life accidents (Ac-VC), also known as “unintended trauma”. They usually occur at home or in the immediate vicinity: garden, courtyard, garage and other outbuildings.

Good to know: Ac-VC can also occur outdoors (in a shop, on the public road), in a school environment, in the context of sports or on vacation (holiday and leisure accidents). They do not include traffic accidents, industrial accidents, suicides or crimes. Children and the elderly are most affected† Men are also more affected than women, says a report published by Public Health France in July 2021 (source 1).

Some figures in France

  • Every year accidents in France in France represent: 61% of daily accidentsaccording to French Federation for the Prevention of Domestic Risks (source 2).
  • This represents approximately 11 million injured and 21,400 deaths per yearor an accident every 25 minutes.
  • 4.5 million people go to the emergency room and only 500,000 are hospitalized.
  • they are here 3rd cause of death in France (after cancer and cardiovascular disease) and the leading cause of death for children under 15

What are the main risks of domestic accidents?

Most accidents at home result in only a few minor injuries. But their consequences can be serious (even deadly):

  • hospitalization,
  • surgical procedure,
  • re-education,
  • lasting effects,
  • loss of mobility or independence

The most common accidents are:

  • choking,
  • drownings,
  • the waterfalls,
  • poisonings,
  • burns,
  • pinches,
  • electrocutions,
  • animal bites or animal stings,
  • etc

What are the main rooms of the house?

The most dangerous part is, unsurprisingly, kitchen : mixers, oven, knives, gas, hobs…

coming next the bathroom : risk of drowning in the bath, slipping, electrocution with various objects coming into contact with water, etc.

And the risks are just as important in insulated rooms such as bedrooms (especially for children, who can climb everywhere and swallow all kinds of things out of sight (coins, batteries, medicines, etc.). High-tech products and decorative items in the common areas can also cause accidents.

Anticipation and Daily Vigilance are the best allies to prevent domestic accidents. The point, case by case.

Prevent falls and shocks

Falling is the most common domestic accident. This mainly concerns the elderly and very young children. The solution ? decorate your home for securing passageways, windows or stairs (handrails, safety bars, corner protectors, etc.).

Prevent cuts

The best way to avoid budget cuts? Preferably store your tools and any sharp objects after use in a place out of the reach of children

Avoid pinching

Children can easily get between doors with their fingers. Remember to leave them closed and teach children not to slam the doors and never leave their fingers in the door frames. If that is possible, install wedges or doorstops

Prevent drowning

In the summer, drowning is the most common accident among children. It arrived quickly and can exist in only 20 cm of water. The solution ? Don’t take your eyes off your kids.

Prevent poisoning

Toxic plants, household products, medicines… Keep poisonous products out of the reach of children, monitor the plants growing in your home and do not leave your children unattended.

Prevent bites

Dogs, cats, farm animals and other wild animals can bite or scratch. In children, these injuries can be particularly serious. The best way to prevent them is to teach children — and adults alike — to respect the animal’s boundaries, notice signs of annoyance, and don’t leave them alone.

Prevent bites

While mosquito bites remain benign, bites from horseflies, hornets or wasps can be much more problematic. Prefer light colored clothes, avoid clothes that are too loose and gamble on effective insect repellents. Consult a doctor immediately in case of alarming or persistent symptoms.

Prevent suffocation and electrocution

These risks mainly concern children, who tend to carry everything, touch everything and put everything in their mouth. Do not leave small objects lying around and always keep an eye on them. Also think about the outlet covers

Avoiding home accidents in children

As indicated above, to prevent small and large ulcers and make the child bloom:

  • watch your child : he is not aware of the risks he is taking and must always be supervised by an adultnot another child.
  • Invest in safe and age-appropriate equipment (door stoppers, corner protectors, safety gates, socket protectors, etc.). just give him toys with CE standardsinvest in furniture that meets the latest regulations (changing table, car seat, bathtub, pram, bed, high chair, etc.).
  • Place dangerous objects out of the reach of children (knives, candles, medicines, etc.) and explain to them the dangers of the house in a clear and calm way (ovens, fireplaces, barbecue, bathtub, swimming pool, etc.).
  • feel free to seek advice from professionals : your doctor, a pediatrician or your pharmacist, etc.

Domestic accidents: protecting the elderly

Health problems, reduced mobility and reflexes… The elderly are also victims of domestic accidents. Continue to live independently:

  • clear passages and limit obstacles on the ground that can cause an imbalance: electrical wires, carpets, furniture, decorative items, garden hoses, etc.
  • bet on non-slip mats on the floor, in the bath or shower; rather carpets than floors that are too slippery, or, failing that, choose the right pair of shoes to stay at home
  • light up the house well : accessible switches, illuminated stairs, multiple light sources, etc.
  • Travel safely with a adapted equipment : handles, banisters, stable stepladder, etc.

Domestic accident: what to do?

Accidents don’t just happen to others† Even with the best preparation, tragedy can happen. Fortunately, certain measures can reduce the risks. Our advice.

What to do in case of suffocation?

In case of suffocation due to improper conduct according to the age and condition of the victim.

  • in adults, if her cough is effective, she manages to talk, just look at her. If the cough is ineffective, the person turns blue and grabs his throat with his hands, gives him five strong blows on the back, between the shoulder blades, to get the foreign body out. No result ? Opt for the Heimlich maneuver: Stand behind the victim, place your arms under his, place both hands above the navel and brutally squeeze the abdomen by pulling strongly towards you, slightly up and back. Repeat the cycle of backstrokes and compressions.
  • In children, if they are under one year old† While waiting for help, sit in a chair, place the baby face down over your thigh. Give him five powerful blows between the shoulder blades. If the foreign body is not rejected, turn the child onto his back, head down on your forearm and thigh. Place 2 fingers in the center of the chest and perform 5 compressions. Repeat, alternating back clap and press.
  • In children, if they are older than one year. Stand on your side, slightly behind the victim. Support his chest with one hand and lean him forward, giving him five powerful blows, between the shoulder blades. If the foreign body is not rejected, perform the Heimlich maneuver.

Good to know : Do not attempt to remove an object that has been inserted into a nostril or ear. Seat the person in the emergency room.

How to respond to burns?

  • An extensive burn with blistering. Cover with cold water for at least five to ten minutes (maximum). If the clothing is cotton, remove it gently while running water over the burn. Call 15 for medical advice.
  • An internal burn. If the victim swallowed a boiling liquid or a corrosive product, call 15 urgently and follow their advice.
  • A burn from an electric shock. Turn off the power immediately before touching the victim. Call emergency services even if there is no clear sign.

Good to know: whatever the burn, do not cover it with grease or ointment. Do not apply ice cubes. Also avoid oil, talc, soap or toothpaste. Also, do not apply adhesive bandages, cotton, or tissue paper.

How to react in case of a heavy fall?

If the victim loses consciousness after the fall, if only for a few moments, take her to the emergency room.

If she remains unconsciousturn her on her side, one leg extended, the other bent (lateral safety position, or PLS), to prevent her from choking if she vomits, and immediately warn the Samu.

Good to know: In the hours and days after the fall, watch for signs of severe head trauma: drowsiness, eye disorders, motor problems, repeated vomiting…

How to react in case of poisoning?

The reckless ingestion of household products, drugs or alcohol mainly affects children.

  • If the child has swallowed medication, call 15 (Samu) stating the name of the product ingested and the amount ingested.
  • If he ingested any household product or poisonous plant (berries, lily of the valley, oleander, etc.), take him to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Good to know : try not to make him vomit or drinkthis may drag the product further.

How to react to a cut?

Even if the notch seems minimal, the consequences can be serious: there are a high risk of infection and especially of nerve, vascular or tendon damage† If you have a major cut, see a doctor as soon as possible. Before going to the emergency room, stop the bleeding by compressing the wound with a clean cloth. As for the tourniquet, it is only needed if the compression is not effective and the bleeding is really very important.

Toll Free Emergency Numbers Reminder

  • 15: Samu
  • 18: firefighters
  • 112: European emergency number, available throughout the European Union.

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