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First Aid For Common Accidents In The Home
Published Jan 24, 2023 IN Column, HEALTHY LIVING,
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MOST of us think of the home as a safe place to be so you may be surprised to know that more accidents happen at home than anywhere else.

Statistics published by ROSPA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) reveal that: there are approximately 6,000 deaths a year as the result of a home accident. More than two million children under the age of 15 are taken to hospital every year following acci­dents in and around the home. Every year, over 62 children under 14 die as a result of an accident in the home. More accidents happen in the lounge/living room than anywhere else in the home.

The type of accident that happen in the home vary ac­cording to age with young children and the elderly suffering more injuries than other age groups:

Slips, trips and falls are the most common cause of injury in the home and can cause serious injury at any time of life. Every year more than 4,200 children are involved in falls on the stairs and 4,000 children under the age of 15 are injured falling from windows

First Aid for Falls

  • First check that you and the casualty aren’t in any danger, for example from unstable flooring or falling objects.
  • Check whether they are they responsive (conscious).
  • If they are not responsive – are they breathing?
  • If they are breathing normally but unresponsive, call medical emergency line for an ambulance and monitor their airway and breathing. Do not move them unless you need to.
  • If they are not breathing call for an ambulance immedi­ately and ask someone to get a defibrillator.
  • Leave the casualty in the position they’re in and open their airway (place 1 hand on the casualty’s forehead and gently tilt their head back, lifting the tip of the chin using 2 fingers. This moves the tongue away from the back of the throat.)
  • If this isn’t possible in the position they’re in, gently lay them on their back and open their airway.
  • If you think the person may have a spinal injury, place your hands on either side of their head and use your finger­tips to gently lift the angle of the jaw forward and upwards, without moving the head, to open the airway
  • Start CPR (30 chest compressions to 2 breaths)
  • If you are a professional carer, looking after someone in their home you should act according to your organisation’s emergency policy.
  • If the casualty IS responsive (conscious), do the following:
  • Reassure them and try to find out how the accident hap­pened. Be gentle and do not stress them if they are confused.
  • See if there is any obvious bleeding, bruising or obvious sign of a bone injury.
  • If you think they may have fallen from a height or could have injured their neck or spine, DO NOT move them. Try and keep them as still as possible and discourage them from twisting.
  • If you are aware of any bleeding apply firm pressure with a sterile dressing from a first aid kit if possible, if not, use any clean cloth. If you have protective gloves, put them on before treating the casualty.
  • If the fall does not seem to be an emergency you do not need to call for an ambulance but keep watch over the ca­sualty closely for the next 24 or so hours, to make certain that no signs or symptoms of injury develop.
  • Always seek professional, medical help if you are con­cerned, especially if you think the fall has caused a head injury such as concussion or compression.

Burns –

Scalds from hot liquids are the cause of most burn injuries amongst both adults and children. On average 110 children per day are seen in Accident & Emergency with burn inju­ries and 46 as a result of a hot cup of tea or hot water spill.

First Aid for Burns

  • Cool the burn with running cold tap water for 20 minutes and remove all clothing and jewellery (unless it is melted or firmly stuck to the wound).
  • Cover with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth.
  • Most burns are preventable and a huge amount of long term pain and scarring can be avoided by taking a few simple steps to prevent burns from happening.
  • Choking – around 300 people die every year from choking and 85 per cent of deaths are caused by food.

Common choking hazards include:

  • putting too much food in your mouth at one time includ­ing handfuls of food such as nuts, popcorn etc.
  • large chunks of meat that are difficult to chew
  • foods with small diameters that fit easily into the wind­pipe (and can create a plug) such as hot dogs and grapes
  • large bites of dry and chewy foods such as peanut butter

How do I know if someone is choking?

  • If you think someone is choking, say “Are you choking?”
  • If choking is mild, they will be able to cough and to say “yes” to your question.
  • If choking is severe, they will be unable to speak, breathe or cough.
  • They need your help urgently – they will become uncon­scious if left untreated

First Aid for a Choking Adult or Child

  • Encourage them to cough and remove any obvious obstruc­tion from their mouth

Not working?

  • Give 5 sharp back blows – help them to lean forwards, supporting their upper body with one hand. With the heel of your other hand give them five sharp back blows between their shoulder blades.

Not working?

  • Give 5 abdominal thrusts: stand behind them and put your arms around their waist.
  • Place one hand in a clenched fist between their belly button and the bottom of their chest.
  • With your other hand, grasp your fist and pull sharply inwards and upwards up to five times. After each back blow, check to see if the obstruction has cleared or if there’s any­thing in their mouth.

Not working?

  • Call for emergency medical assistance immediately.
  • Repeat the cycle of 5 back blows and 5 abdominal thrusts until help arrives, re-checking their mouth each time.
  • If they become unresponsive at any point, prepare to start CPR.

Cuts and Grazes – most cuts and grazes are minor and can be easily treated at home. Stopping the bleeding, cleaning the wound thoroughly and covering it with a plaster or dressing is usually all that’s needed. Minor wounds should start to heal within a few days.

First Aid for Bleeding

  • If you are treating someone else always try to put on pro­tective gloves before giving first aid, then:
  • Apply direct pressure, ideally by placing a sterile dressing directly over the wound
  • Apply pressure for several minutes until the bleeding stops
  • If there is an embedded object, apply pressure on either side but DO NOT remove the object

 When to seek medical help:

You should seek advice from your pharmacist if the cut becomes infected. You can also visit the local walk-in cen­tre or minor injuries unit for medical assistance.

Signs of infection include:

  • Swelling of the affected area
  • Pus forming in the affected area
  • Redness spreading from the cut or graze
  • Feeling generally unwell
  • A high temperature (fever) of 38°C (100.4°F) or above
  • Swollen glands


  • An infected wound can usually be successfully treated with a short course of antibiotics.
  • First Aid for a wound with an embed­ded object
  • If an object is embedded in a wound, do not remove it, as this could cause further damage. The object may also be stemming any bleeding.
  • Use sterile dressings and bandages to apply padding on either side of the object


  • Build it up to avoid pressure on the object
  • Hold the padding firmly in place with a roller bandage or folded triangular bandage


  • Apply the bandage in a criss-cross method to avoid pressure on the object
  • Take or send the casualty to hospital so that the object can be safely removed.
  • Poisoning – every year approximately 150,000 people are admitted to the hospital with poisoning in the UK, including around 25,000 children aged under 5. Most poisoning incidents involve medicines, household products and cosmetics around the house. It is important, therefore, to keep anything that might be dangerous if swallowed well out of reach of children as an essential part of first aid in the home.

First Aid for Poisoning

Treatment for a corrosive substance such as bleach, acid

  • Protect yourself from the chemical – wear protective gloves etc.
  • Wash the corrosive substance away with water, if pos­sible, and treat as with burns .
  • DO NOT make the casualty vomit (if the substance burned the throat on the way down it will burn on the way up too!)
  • Get the casualty to rinse their mouth and then give small sips of milk or water.
  • Go for emergency medical help and provide as much information as possible about the substance that has been swallowed.
  • If the casualty becomes unresponsive, check Airway and Breathing and place them in the recovery position.
  • If the casualty stops breathing, start CPR using a face shield to protect yourself.

Treatment for a non-corrosive substance such as medi­cation

  • Go for emergency help and provide as much information as possible about the substance that has been swallowed
  • If the casualty becomes unresponsive, check Airway and Breathing and place them in the recovery position
  • If the casualty stops breathing, start CPR
  • DO NOT make the casualty vomit

Treatment for an inhaled poison such as fumes or smoke

  • Move the casualty to fresh air away from the poisonous substance
  • If the casualty becomes unresponsive, check Air­way and Breathing and place them in the recovery position
  • If the casualty stops breathing, start CPR
  • Call for emergency help
  • Treat any burns

NOTE that this guidance is for information purposes only and is not a replace­ment for taking a first aid training course.

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