HOME ACCIDENT AND PREVENTIVE STRATEGIES AMONG WOMEN OF CHILD BEARING AGE IN UYO SENATORIAL DISTRICT OF AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA
Background of the study
Homes are great sanctuaries, apart from providing protection, they also offer us comfort and pleasures. Home is a primary necessity and modern homes add esteem. Unfortunately careless attitudes can transform the home into a death trap (Osoro, 2015). Kalesanwo (2002) pointed out that the home to most people is supposed to be a place where security and safety of lives and property are guaranteed yet due to carelessness thousands of men, women and children are killed and about the same number are injured as a result of home accident every year.
Accidents throughout the world have reached major epidemic proportion. Accidents represent a major epidemic of non-communicable disease throughout the world. With industrialization, advancement in technology, better health care and preventive measures like immunization, accident are becoming important cause of death in children and the world over. Also with better education and opportunities for work for both parents, number of members of the family working is increasing day by day. Accidental death in children particularly during playing at home, while flying kites, fall from the terrace, injury from sharp objects, improper use of toys, scissors, knives, blades are not uncommon (Umesh, 2010).
Accident can take place in a wide, variety of environment, however the home is the most likely location. Home accidents otherwise called domestic accident are a major cause of death and injury and contribute substantially to potential years of life lost. Accident as noted by Wells (2015) can cause pain, distress, and suffering for the victim, their family and friends and even for the wider community. The repercussion of serious accident can be felt for a long time and in some cases can cause life-changing pain, disability and death. Home accidents can arise from many seemingly innocuous sources such as ill-fitting footwear or unsecured blind cords or from practices and behaviours such as not using appropriate lighting at night.
Statistics show that there are some groups in the society who are especially vulnerable to accident in the home and who suffer disproportionally because of them. These include babies, and young children particularly those under 5 years and people over 65 and those with greater social, economic and health disadvantage (Wells, 2015). In addition to the human lost, home accident result in significant pressures and additional cost of health, and social care. Home accidents affect a number of areas of care ranging from immediate post emergency care in hospital, through rehabilitational care to the long term care and support associated with acquired life-long disabilities. This is inturn impact on the overall capacity of the service to provide quality care.
Ikulago (2009) opined that preventive strategies also known as safety precautions are instruction designed or prepared as a form of information which will prevent accidents or untimely death. Preventive strategies or safety precautions can be seen as dos or don’ts. It can also be in the form of signs, warnings on products and other inbuilt devices to reduce or warn against what can trigger accident. Home accident preventive strategies are measures put in place at home to prevent the occurrence of accident. It is the guiding principles or actions put in place at home which can safe guard inhabitant from loss of life or properties.
Safety education directed at parent may be an important tool in reducing injuries at home. Accident trends very and the type and frequency of accident suffered can be influenced by a range of factors such as weather, time of the year, demographics lifestyle and behavioural choices such as use of candles, substance misuse, climbing on a stool to change a light bulb, economic factors that can affect the type of product we buy including home safety aids, as well as services we use or do not use to maintain appliances. Regardless of these factors the bases of accident prevention which include awareness, supervision, risk assessment, hazard identification and reduction remain the same as asserted by Health, Social Services and Public Safety (2015).
The common types of accident includes falls, poisoning, burns/scolds choking, drowning suffocation or strangulation trapping or crushing injuries most of these accidents happen on land around the home. The aim of home accident preventive strategies is to reduce accidental deaths and injuries in the home, to raise awareness of the causes of home accidents, promote effective preventive measures to reduce such accident, facilitate effective training on skills and knowledge in home accident prevention across the Nation. The aim will be met though education and information programme to promote home safety, promote change in public behavior towards home accident prevention and the use of evidence based practice, models of good practice and by evaluating home accident preventive strategies by stakeholders.
In Nigeria as in most developing countries, women of child bearing age constitute more than one fifth of the total population. According to World Health Organization, women of child bearing age are in the age range between 15 years to 49 years (WHO, 1996).
Ideally, unintentional injuries in the home cost the UK on estimated 25 billion dollar a year and represent a significant burden on public health care, local government and to the families and individuals affected by it. Parent can play an influential role in reducing their children exposure to risk by adopting good child care practices and by use of child safety device in the home. Factors associated with injury in the home include younger mothers, changing developmental stage of the child, socio economic deprivation, inadequate use of safety equipment by parent or care givers and presence of sibling. Parental lack of knowledge or understanding about causes of accident can be a significant barrier to the safety of young children in the home.
According to the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia, private homes to the list of places where children are likely to experience accidental injuries. Infact, for children under the age of five, home related accidental injuries account for half of unintentional death three out of four non-fatal injuries. Because children always are so small, children can easily choke on food or other small object they are inclined to put into the mouth, commonly found around the house such as plastic shopping bags and other safe materials also pose a danger, burns and scalds are far more serious in children than to adult because a child’s sensitive skin burns more easily than an adult as asserted by Polit and Hungler (2005).
The common causes of accidents in the home as listed by Hossein (2009) includes falls, fire and burns, suffocation, choking poisoning, cut, laceration, drowning. centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2012) highlighted that most home accidents happen where there is water in the bathroom, kitchen, swimming pool or hot tubs. Heat or flames in the kitchen or at a barbecue grill. Shrestha (2006) indicated that burn injury under 5 years of age and female children were mostly affected. Toxic substances under the kitchen sink, in the medicine cabinet, in the garage or garden shed or even in a purse or other place where medication are stored potential for a fall: fall from bed, sofa, crib or stairs, shippery floor from high window, or from tipping furniture (Morrison and Stone, 2009).
Home related accidents are a serious public health problem and a leading cause of premature death in children. They are also a cause of long term or permanent disability. The World Health Organization states that by 2020 accidental injury will be the largest simple reason for loss of healthy human life, years as observed by Wung (2010).
World Health Organization (2005) observed that between the ages of 1-5 years children learn to walk, run and climb. They become more active and love to play and explore. Still young children do not always know the possible dangers of their actions. This often leads to accident. Mothers can help prevent many accidents if she take proper safety measures and keep a watchful eye and learn how to keep the child safe from accident. Preventive measures or strategies have to strike a balance between children’s need to be active and to explore and develop with the need to help them free from death and accidental injuries (Stone and Pearson, 2009).
According to Mohammed, Mohammedad, Byoumi (2013), some of the strategies for home accident prevention adopted by women of child bearing age and most especially mothers include education and teaching, environmental modification, product modification, parental supervision or a combination of all.
Environmental strategies – this includes changes within the home environment to prevent access to hazards. For example, having a working smoke alarm, the safe storage of hazardous objects and the installation of safety equipment as well as the safe keeping of equipment in the household.
Parental supervision – this encompasses a spectrum of visual and listening strategies in combination with the proximity of the child to the parent for prompt intervention in case of a mishap. It is noted that parental supervision can reduce the risk of unintentional injury to a child within the home (Parental education and teaching for) safety precaution should be done for all members of the family based on age; they should be educated on how to promote home safety, eliminate hazards before exposure occur and screening for environmental hazards that may threaten the health of children and vulnerable people in the home.
Teaching strategies for reducing risk explanation approaches to modifying child behavior such as reward and punishment. Teaching strategy may vary with parenting style for example, permissive parenting has been associated with greater explanation and less rule. Some teach rules based on age others try to explain the reason for the rules produced modification. Advances in technology have also made it possible for some kind of protective measures to be observed in order to avoid risk such as child proof caps on medication, child proof packaging on certain product, as well as increased educational effort and information developing, implementing and evaluating intervention and promoting widespread adoption of evidence based practices or policies and legislation (CDC, 2012).
Oladunjoye (2013) noted that the nursing mother is a woman looking after a baby immediately after delivery up to the time the child is weaned. She provides for the needs of the child, both physical and psychological. The day a woman becomes a mother she assumes a great responsibility which she must bear with the confidence that is born of knowledge and a feeling of adequacy. A child’s safety is the mothers responsibility. It is an awesome responsibility which unfortunately is felt most strongly when a child is hurt in an accident. Mothers feel guilty despite the fact that accident are by their very definition unanticipated and unintended. However when they do occur, it does not lessen the quilt consciousness. Children are constantly exposed to hazards and passive protection will never be enough.