In Finland, 100–150 people drown every year. The ability to swim and good water safety skills allow people to enjoy waters in various seasons. Most drowning accidents could be avoided with an appropriate attitude towards safety, alertness and preparedness: wearing life jackets correctly whenever going boating and enjoying the waters and waterside sober. A person can drown even if the water is only a few centimetres deep, and drowning can happen in a moment. Drowning accidents can be prevented by always swimming with a friend and along the coastline so that you can stand up in the water at all times. Children should be kept within arm’s reach.
Slipping and falling
Most accidents that happen at home or during free time are caused by falling over or falling from a low place. People of all ages can fall, but the risk and the severity of the consequences increase with aged people. Falling can be prevented by getting varied physical exercise, ensuring sufficient lighting and keeping paths clean and unobstructed. Slipping can be prevented with footwear appropriate for the weather: shoes with sturdy soles, with studs or separate anti-slip guards in the winter. During winter, ensure that snow is removed from the yard and the yard is gritted. Falling is not a part of normal aging: there are various factors behind falling, which can be studied with the tools for assessing the risk of falling.
Sports accidents are the second most common type of accident. Sports accidents can be prevented by recognising and paying attention to the risks involved in specific sports, patience, suitable equipment, and warming up, regardless of the sport. Varied exercise has a proven positive effect on both physical and mental health. Exercise can also prevent sports accidents and injuries. Injuries related to exercise are often caused by poor coordination: good aerobic condition, sufficient muscle power and coordination exercises are the basis of safe physical exercise.
Read more about first aid instructions for joint injuries
At home, poisonings are often caused by medication, alcohol, drugs, poisonous plants, chemicals and mushrooms. In Finland, carbon monoxide poisonings also occur. The severity and speed of appearance of poisoning symptoms depend on the amount of the substance consumed, as well as the method through which it entered the body. Injected or inhaled substances have the quickest impact. Children under three years are the most susceptible to poisoning accidents, which is why special care is needed in the storage of toxic substances and chemicals at home: they should be kept in a lockable cabinet, out of the reach of children. Always call the free-of-charge number of the Poison Information Centre if you suspect a poisoning has occurred.
Further information on poisonous substances is available around the clock from the Poison Information Centre, tel. 0800 147 111 (free of charge)
Fires often start due to unsupervised cooking, careless smoking or children playing with matches. To prevent fires, it is essential to keep an eye on open fires at all times, store matches out of the reach of children and follow electrical devices’ instructions for use and maintenance. Never smoke on the sofa or bed. At home, you should prepare for fires with functional smoke detectors, learning first-aid fire-fighting skills and preparing a rescue plan. The chances of getting out of a fire are better when you have prepared a plan for what to do in case of a fire.
The use of intoxicants is connected to accidental deaths: some 7% of falls and about 35% of other fatal accidents occur under the influence of alcohol. When you are drunk, your judgment is impaired and you may act impulsively and take risks, which makes you more prone to accidents. The use of intoxicants increases the risk of all types of accidents: poisoning, fire, drowning, falling, suffocating and sports accidents. To prevent accidents caused by intoxication, it is important to reduce the overall consumption of alcohol, actively discuss intoxicants and identify risky use of intoxicants.
Suffocation and strangulation are rarer than other types of accidents, but still, they are extremely serious types of accidents. The risk of suffocation can be reduced by focusing on meals and chewing food properly, as well as keeping small objects out of the reach of children. If someone at your table suddenly starts coughing and they seem like they cannot speak or breathe, it is vital that you act rapidly.
Removing a foreign object from the airways requires swift first aid skills. Recognise an emergency quickly. If several helpers are available, one of them calls 112 immediately, while the other one begins first aid.
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