A child’s home is where they will spend much of their lives. It’s where they’ll eat, sleep, play, and where they’ll hopefully grow into a healthy adult. It’s also where most childhood injuries take place. Every year across the United States, children are sent to the emergency room due to home accidents, and several thousand kids will die from these injuries. Your child is many thousands of times more likely to be harmed by the things inside your house than they are to be injured by community predators. In fact, to put things in perspective, your television in and of itself is at least 40 times more likely to kill your child than any registered sex offenders in the neighborhood. Yet in spite of these basic facts, many parents spend more time worrying about unlikely dangers outside the home while often neglecting hazards that exist right under their own roof.
Child safety starts with an awareness of the dangers. So to that end, we’ve gathered an assortment of news briefs about child accidents in the home. These stories will give parents a better idea about the range of risks and the various ways in which home accidents take place.
Why Accidents Happen: Example of How Children are Injured In & Around the Home
Here are some examples of the different things that can go wrong. We also recommend that readers follow the website www.truechildsafety.com which will give them a better understanding of the different dangers out there through real-life examples.
In Connecticut, a 1-year-old girl was apparently playing with the cord near her crib that looped around the bottom of the shade when she became entangled in it. Her father found her hanging and unconscious and performed CPR until police arrived, but it was too late. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital. (USA Today, 4-8-08, p. 9a)
In Arizona, three-year-old Elissa Slowman was killed after a 27-inch TV that was sitting on an entertainment center toppled over. The preschooler was crushed under its weight. (NBC News Phoenix, 9-26-09)
A three-year-old girl in Arizona was reaching into her toy chest when the lid carne down on top of her. She was struck in the back of the head and died a short time later. (Fox News Phoenix, 12-2-09) It may seem like a freak accident, but sadly, it’s all too common: At least 45 children have died in recent years in exactly the same manner. The weight of the falling toy chest lid snaps their neck, which is a in a precarious and vulnerable position as they’re bent over digging for toys.
In Las Vegas, Nevada, a 17-month-old boy was killed when an oven tipped over onto him. Police say the stove toppled over when the boy opened its door. (USA Today, 11-18-2010, p. 7A)
A 4-year-old climbs behind the family sofa without anyone noticing. Pulling on an extension cord from a lamp, he puts the plug into his mouth and bites down. Although he survives, the electrical current blows a hole through the side of his face. (Men’s Journal, April 2010, p.77)
An 8-year-old girl was left with permanent lung damage after several people at a community gathering mistakenly drank torch lamp oil, thinking it was apple juice. The oil comes in a clear plastic bottle that says “Tiki torch fuel,” but it looks like a juice container. One woman at the gathering died. (USA Today, 7-3-08, p. 7A)
The daughter of infamous boxer Mike Tyson, four-year-old Exodus Tyson, lost her life after becoming entangled in a cable on some exercise equipment at her home. She was playing on a treadmill when her head apparently slipped inside a cord hanging under the console. Her 7-year-old brother found her tangled in the cable and called their mother. She called 911, removed the cable from around the girl’s neck and attempted CPR until authorities arrived. Sadly, Exodus died from her injuries a day later. (USA Today, 5-26-2009, p. 3A)
A 2-year-old boy awoke early one morning while his mother still slept and managed to make his way onto a second story ledge, where unsurprisingly, he fell. After bouncing off the metal canopy of a first story storefront, in a bit of luck he tumbled right into the arms of a witness who had spotted the little ledge walker. (USA Today, 8-4-08, p. 8A)
Four-year-old Joey Williams was chasing a balloon on the balcony of his family’s 17th-story apartment in a Miami high-rise, when he climbed over the railing and tumbled to the ground. In what was dubbed ‘The Miami Miracle,’ the boy somehow managed to survive with relatively minor injuries. During his fall he ping-ponged off a pool deck six stories below, then was slowed when he hit a palm tree and shrub on the way down, landing on a dirt service. (The Week, 6-18-2010, p. 2) Most kids, however, won’t survive a fall of several stories, let alone 17 stories. So let these examples be a lesson about how your own kids might take a tumble.
A mother in Arizona had a habit of using her bathtub as a makeshift play pen to keep her baby occupied. The boy managed to somehow turn the water on and drowned. (NBC News Phoenix, 9-26-09)
While playing at his grandmother’s house, a two-year-old boy fell from a second story window. His grandmother had opened the window to get some fresh air, and the boy pushed a chair over to the window and sat on the sill. When his grandmother saw this and rushed to grab him, he instinctually (for a 2-year-old) pulled away. The tike toppled right through the screen, landing head first on the rocks below. (Sept. 2010 Parents, p. 42)
Accidents Outside the Home
A two-year-old Colorado boy who disappeared at around 7 p.m. on a Sunday evening was discovered more than an hour later, dead at the bottom of a septic tank. Authorities said the lid to the tank had been removed for unknown reasons. (USA Today, 4-15-08, p. 6A)
A 6-year-old boy was struck and killed by a falling tree that was being cut down by his father to clear a field. Officials say the boy had been trying to warn his father of a brush fire that had started nearby. The father, who was cutting the tree with a chain saw, did not see the boy. (USA Today, 3-31-2009, p. 5A) Another 6-year-old girl is killed when a tree crashes through the family’s trailer early one morning. (Wired, Sept. 2010, p. 160)
In Nebraska, a 10-year-old boy was killed in a freak accident in a neighbor’s yard. While running during a game of tag, he either ran into a metal rod protruding from a playhouse (or was carrying the rod in his hands, details were sketchy). Either way, the rod impaled his head, and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital. (USA Today, 4-15-08, p. 6A)
Two young sisters were found dead in the back seat of a neighbor’s vehicle. They had apparently climbed into the car but were unable to get themselves out. The girls, ages 18 months and two years, were found by a sheriff’s deputy about 30 minutes after they were reported missing. (USA Today, 6-30-2008, p. 8A)
An exterminator in Layton, Utah applied too much pesticide too close to a local home, killing two young girls. Fifteen-month-old Rachel Toone and her 4-year-old sister Rebecca died three days apart from each other, after inhaling high levels of phosphorus from poison pellets that sickened the entire family. The employee at the local pest control company had applied the pellets to kill voles (small rodents), but failed to tell the family they should leave the house. (USA Today, 4-30-2010)
Now that we’ve gotten you good and frightened, the positive news is that many home accidents can be prevented or minimized if parents understand the dangers and take steps to address these risks.