While home should be a safe place for children to learn and grow, most injuries to young children occur in their homes.
Children are vulnerable in this environment because heights, space and structures are built for adult use and comfort, but often create hazards for children.
Injuries in the home are most often caused by falls, burns, poisoning, choking, strangulation and drowning.
Each year, emergency departments across Canada see more than 20,000 children with injuries that occurred at home. This means that, every day, approximately 55 young children suffer injuries in the home serious enough to be taken to the hospital.
- Falls account for more than half of all injuries and most often children fall from furniture and stairs, in addition to falling through windows.
- Burns are usually caused by hot liquids and tap water that is too hot. Scald burns can lead to longer hospitalizations and lifelong treatment.
- Poisoning is most often from medication, household cleaning products and personal care products.
- Choking is typically caused when eating food, while strangulation of toddlers and preschoolers is most often caused by entanglement in window blind cords.
Social factors that increase child injury risk
Parachute recognizes that parents who live in low-income housing may not be able to control their environment to install safety features such as window guards or buy necessary products, such as stair gates, to decrease hazards. As well, if we improve people’s access to health services, education, employment income, quality housing and improved social environments, we decrease rates of injury. Efforts to improve policies, such as banning baby walkers with wheels or changing building codes to eliminate danger in housing structures, are more effective in reducing or eliminating injuries for all children.