More Cape children admitted for falls and burns, says Red Cross
Cape Town – While Covid-19 infections among children have remained relatively low, the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital says more children have been admitted with injuries caused by falls and burns, possibly as a result of being confined to small spaces during the lockdown.
The hospital’s Emergency Centre (EC) trauma ward head, Professor Sebastian van As, and paediatric surgery registrar Dr Thozama Siyotula, said childhood accidents did not stop during the national state of disaster.
The Emergency Centre is the first and only specialist paediatric centre in sub-Saharan Africa, treating around 45 000 patients a year.
“There was no significant change in the numbers during the first quarter of this year but we did see a change in the second quarter, at the start of the pandemic. The profile of injuries changed, too,” said Van As.
This year, more children were admitted with injuries caused by falls and burns. Of those, almost half were caused by falls.
“The injuries had many causes – from falling out of bed, out of trees or even falling while running and playing,” Van As said.
Burns also increased, particularly liquid and contact burns.
Van As attributed the rise to children living in densely populated areas and being confined to small spaces where they are at greater risk of injury from contact with household appliances and boiling liquids.
The EC recorded 10% fewer fire burns, however, possibly because parents were at home during the lockdown. Parental vigilance would have been greater and fewer children would have been exposed to fires unsupervised.
Siyotula said that as well as burn injuries, her team had performed surgery on victims of dog bites, pedestrian traffic accidents and shooting incidents during the lockdown.
NGO Childsafe executive director Yolande Baker said: “The reality is that you can’t prevent a child from falling. They are curious and like to climb, experiment and explore. But in confined quarters or under lockdown, there are things we can do to protect them from injury.”
The banking details for donations towards the upgrade of the hospital’s EC are as follows:
The Children’s Hospital Trust
Standard Bank Acc: 071443126
Branch code: 025009
Bank Reference: EC+Cell Number
Swift Code: SBZAZAJJ