Having a watchful eye and keeping objects and dangerous substances away from toddlers are important in providing them a secure environment at home. However to ensure that, doctors say, parents first require awareness about their child’s safety.
On Thursday, two-year-old Ramya died while playing at her home when her father Rajamani, who was unloading drinking water cans, fell on her and the can hit her head. It was not the first time, a kid had died due to sheer negligence by parents at home.
On Wednesday, an 18-month-old toddler died when her father reversed his van and ran over her, in Chromepet. On Tuesday, a 20-month-old baby girl died after a television set came crashing on her in Perungudi. In May, another 18-month-old died in Aminjikarai when she touched a table fan while sleeping and got electrocuted.
Doctors say they have seen several cases of kids reportedly dying after consuming kerosene at home. “Adults may be used to keeping objects in certain place, assuming it won’t cause problems. But one day tragedy happens. There have been cases, when kids have bit a live wire or consumed medicines. Another common case is of baby falling into a bucket of water or hot water. When about 20 to 40 tablets of paracetamol can kill adults, it can cause convulsions and eventually kill a baby,” explains Dr Gunasingh, Institute of Child Health.
Doctors also says that only a constant supervision on toddlers, aged up to five years, could help avoid such incidents from taking place, as they tend to be more active when they begin to walk. However, before keeping a check, the parents need to be aware of what is safe for their child.
“We have had cases of kids eating soap, cleaning products and mosquito coils. In South Tamil Nadu, parents themselves apply camphor on their child’s body and give them neem oil or even mercury, thinking it could cure them from certain ailments. It might be unintentional, but it could result in the child’s death,” the doctor adds. Doctors say apart from training of handling and communication, parents are also educated on the safety aspects. They are given Parents Management Training where they are advised to constantly monitor their children. “When there is a behavioural change in a child, parents fail to understand that a family problem could be the reason. We advise them to keep sharp objects, medicines and detergents at an inaccessible place not just from toddlers but also from adolescents,” says psychiatrist Dr Shanthi Nambi.