Whilst we consider our homes to be a place of safety and security, the truth is that most accidents happen in the home. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), around 2.7 million people are treated in hospital each year as a result of a domestic accident. The total cost to the NHS is estimated to be around £45.63 billion although some of these injuries may require home first aid only.
We’ve decided to put together an essential guide to first aid in the home to help you deal with the unexpected.
Most Common Types of Accidents in the Home
First of all, it is important to know the risks of injury in the home and try to avoid these from occurring in the first place.
The latest statistics from the NHS suggest that the most common accidents in the home are a result of:
- Falling objects
- Trips and falls
- Glass related cuts
Prevention is the key to any proactive approach to your family’s health and safety and reducing the risk is an essential part of good home management.
You can find out more about fire safety and preventing the risk of burns in the home with our full safety guide, here.
When it comes to avoiding other accidents, a good common sensical approach is important, especially if you have children and animals in your home.
All medicines and cleaning products should be kept out of reach of children and, preferably, under lock and key. According to ROSPA, 25,000 under-fives are admitted to hospital every year after being accidentally poisoned.
Stairs and landings should always be kept clear of clutter to avoid falls. If you have young children then stairgates at the bottom and top of the stairs should be fitted. Each year more than 4200 children are involved in falls on the stairs.
All windows above ground floor level should be fitted with a safety lock and restrictor. Each year, according to ROSPA, 4000 children under the age of 15 are seen in hospital as a result of falling from a window.
Some Home Accident Statistics
In the most recent review of home accident statistics published by ROSPA:
- The most common room in the house where accidents happen is the living room/lounge.
- Boys have more accidents than girls.
- Adults aged 65 and over and children aged 5 and under are most likely to have an accident in the home.
- 13 children each day under the age of four suffer a severe burn/scald injury. Remember that hot drinks can burn or scald a child up to 15-minutes after it has been made.
Essential First Aid
First of all, if you (or a member of your family of a visitor) is seriously injured then we would recommend that you contact the emergency services as appropriate. Serious falls, burns and poisoning can be fatal and you should not delay a visit to the Accident and Emergency room.
However, there is still plenty of self-help that can be administered to a patient instead of a trip to an out of hours GP.
Essential First Aid Kit
Firstly, it is important that you stock the basics of a good first aid kit and that this is kept up-to-date and is regularly replenished.
According to the NHS, a basic home first aid kit should contain:
- alcohol-free cleansing wipes
- antihistamine cream or tablets
- antiseptic cream
- cough medicine
- cream or spray to relieve insect bites and stings
- crêpe rolled bandages
- disposable sterile gloves
- distilled water for cleaning wounds
- eye wash and eye bath
- painkillers such as paracetamol (or infant paracetamol for children), ibuprofen or aspirin (not to be given to children under 16).
- plasters in a variety of different sizes and shapes
- safety pins
- skin rash cream, such as hydrocortisone or calendula
- small, medium and large sterile gauze dressings
- sterile eye dressings ( at least 2)
- sticky tape
- thermometer (preferably digital)
- triangular bandages
It is also recommended that you keep a basic first aid manual or guide handy with your first aid kit.
Even if you have attended a first aid course (see below) then having a clear, concise and practical guide ready on hand will help. In an emergency or stressful situation, people (especially parents) can panic so the easier the guide is to read and access, the more help it will be. Don’t skip this important step and assume you will be able to Google your query; navigating a smart phone to browse websites will be the last thing you need when you have an injury to deal with….if you can get a good WiFi or 4G reception!
We don’t normally recommend products to purchase but the First Aid Manual published by Dorling Kindersley is written by the UK’s leading first aid organisations; St John’s Ambulance, British Red Cross and St Andrew’s First Aid. It is a comprehensive home first aid manual and offers clear and simple to understand instructions to help you assess and deal with the most common types of domestic injury.
You can pick up a copy via Amazon for under £10 or order one from your local bookstore.
Home First Aid Courses
The St John’s Ambulance and British Red Cross run a variety of regular First Aid courses which are inexpensive and offer a much more detailed approach to dealing with common injuries. In the Wokingham area, these are held in Woodley and Bracknell and run every couple of months.
Courses include Essential First Aid (all ages), First Aid for Babies and Children and Basic First Aid and usually last around 3-4 hours. Places are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and cost around £30-£40.
Property Assistant and You
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