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Indoor child safety warnings issued for healthcare providers in Japan

Staying in a room that is not childproof – whether in a hotel or a relative’s home – during the holidays requires extra caution, the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE) said, following reports of casualties.

From 2019 to 2023, 73 incidents involving serious injuries to children under the age of 6 have been reported, of which 54 cases, or more than 70%, occurred indoors.

Parents often recognize the dangers in their own home, but may not be as vigilant when visiting new places during the holidays.

In a statement released late last month, NITE advised healthcare providers to check their travel destinations for potential risks and be aware of how to protect their children.

The most common injuries were trauma-related, including burns, suffocation, hands caught in doors and accidental swallowing of objects such as coins and children’s toys.

Eight of these incidents resulted in fatalities, six of which resulted from suffocation. In one such case last year, a three-year-old child in Kanagawa Prefecture suffocated after becoming entangled in curtain cords.

In another incident in 2020, a five-month-old child in Hyogo Prefecture suffocated after becoming trapped between a toddler bed protector and a mattress.

To maximize safety, NITE recommends the use of devices such as door stops, furniture anchors and drawer locks to prevent traumatic injuries, such as being trapped under falling furniture.

The agency also emphasizes the importance of keeping items such as curtain cords, electrical cords and hot water appliances out of the reach of children and recommends checking the age suitability of products used around and by young children.

Cycling-related incidents topped the list of outdoor accidents.

NITE also encourages healthcare providers to actively teach children to recognize and avoid hazards so that they are aware of the risks present in different products and environments.

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