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4. Choking: From a bit of food going down the wrong way for a youngster accidentally swallowing a small item, choking is scary. Educate your children and wards about choking hazards. This is closely related to suffocation which may result from little children covering their faces with plastic (nylon) bags and thereby being unable to breathe.
Safety tips: Regularly inspect toys for loose parts, scour floors for small items which little hands might easily find and swallow. Keep small, hard foods like nuts out of the reach of children. Monitor playtime looking out for signs of choking. For children less than four years, cut up foods and fruits that can block the airways. Keep plastic bags out of the reach of little children and educate them on the inherent dangers. Don't hesitate to get to a health care facility when you cannot help the situation.

5. Cuts: Everything from an open can (canned foods and drinks) to nails jutting out of old furniture parts can pose a danger due to sharp edges.
Safety tips: Close the trash to prevent small fingers from finding sharp edges on opened cans. Properly store blades, scissors and all sharp kitchen tools beyond the reach of kids and learn to point knives and forks down.
First aid: Apply direct pressure and clean the area with warm water and gentle soap. Put a sterile bandage on the area. Antibiotic cover may be necessary if there is risk of infection. Call a doctor if the bleeding is a severe or doesn't stop after 10 minutes of firm and steady pressure.

6. Poisoning: Several items present poisoning hazards, including drugs, disinfectants, methylated spirit, kerosene, lead, certain plants and household cleaning materials.
Safety tips: Store medications properly, away from children including teenagers. Dispose all unused medications. Keep paints (especially lead-based ones) out of the reach of children. Lock up pesticides, chemicals, detergents and other household cleaning materials. Also get rid of old watch batteries as children can easily swallow them. Call a doctor immediately if someone gets poisoned.

7. Burns: Can be caused by children and even mothers accidentally touching a hot iron, cooker top, electric pots and kettle. Hot water burns and steam burns from pressure pots are also very common. A little carefulness and a right know-how can decrease the chances of burns.
First aid: If it is a first degree burn where only the first layer of the skin has been affected do the following:
> Place the affected part in cool water for 10-15 minutes to reduce the swelling. Do not ice it.
> Loosely wrap the wound in a sterile gauze bandage.
> Take analgesics (pain killers).

8. Snake and insect bites: Bites from snakes, scorpions, bees and spiders are often very painful and in some instances, life threatening. Bites from poisonous snakes may manifest as severe and excruciating pain, local swelling, bleeding and shock. Possible risk factors include living in an untidy environment or an area where insects and snakes breed.
First aid: Reassure the victim and immobilize the affected limb with a splint or sling. Visit a clinic whenever such serious bites occur. Itw would be a bonus if you can identify the kind of insect or snake that bit you.

Avoid harmful and time-wasting procedures like incisions for application of native herbs, ice packs or electric shock, which are unconfirmed in clinical studies. Avoid the use of tourniquets or constricting bands which have been shown to have minimal effect unless the snake was identified to be dangerously neurotoxic. Nothing is more important than keeping your family safe. The list above is not exhaustive. Educate yourself on knowing what to look for and which precautions to take in order to ensure the safety of your loved ones. Vigilance is one of the best gifts you can give to them.


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