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Household accidents among children -Unfortunately a common scenario

Parental diligence – need of the hour

Parents nowadays are spending longer time with their families due to lockdown. With most of them continuing to work from home for extended hours and with few recreational options in hand, engaging children constructively has become quite challenging. In such a situation, being extra cautious helps to keep children safe from potentially dangerous hazards in the house.

Children go through a phase when they put everything into their mouth due to curiosity, and this places them in danger. The frequency of household accidents and unintentional poisoning among young children has increased dramatically worldwide, especially during this lockdown period.

Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield explains this through a recent medical emergency which panicked the parents. It was late evening when Kiran (name changed), a 4-year-old girl, was brought to the hospital by her parents in the emergency. Reason, she had ingested a button battery while she was playing.

The doctors immediately examined her and advised X-ray. The X-ray report confirmed that the swallowed button battery was stuck in his food pipe. Kiran was given intravenous sedation by PICU team and an Upper GI endoscopy was performed on her by Dr. Rupesh Kalyan, Consultant Gastroenterologist; following which the battery was immediately removed without any complications. Kiran was kept under observation throughout the night and was discharged the very next morning.

Dr. Senthil Kumar, Consultant – Paediatric, Neonatal & Cardiac Intensivist, Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield said “small children are more likely to mouth objects in the environment and the smaller diameter of their food pipe predisposes them to foreign body impaction. He explained that button battery impaction in the food pipe allows the current to flow from battery causing caustic injury of the tissue wall and thus necrosis of the intestinal wall is seen even within 15 minutes of contact. If left behind, it can cause hole in the wall and can damage adjacent structures eventually leading to death”.

The parents who were worried about the whole situation were relaxed after the procedure and said, “It was a very difficult situation for us. Luckily, our daughter came down to us and tried to tell us that she swallowed, we cross checked and found the battery to be missing and immediately rushed her to the hospital. We are extremely happy that our child is all safe and recovering now. We would like to thank the doctors and staff at Columbia Asia hospital Whitefield for immediately attending her inspite of the lockdown. We will be extra careful at home now and constantly keep a check on our kid’s activities.”

Child safety and injury prevention strategies for parents

  • Prevent access to hazards by using child resistant containers
  • Avoid highly toxic poisons at home
  • Keep medications in closed cabinets away from reach of children
  • Label warning signs on packaging and store carefully
  • Cover all sharp furniture edges and corners with safety paddings
  • Do not keep hot and/or heavy objects at the edge of the table
  • Supervise adequately and teach children about safety

Dr. Senthil Kumar
Consultant – Paediatric, Neonatal & Cardiac Intensivist,
Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield