Reported causes of accidents among pre-school children in Westlands division of Nairobi province, Kenya.
Mugo, J. W.
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Accidents affect children's total health negatively and therefore have led to the declaration of safety as a basic right to children worldwide. In Britain however, studies on school accidents show that approximately 700 children of mixed ages died yearly due to causes such as falls and cuts from various objects. In U.S.A. about 4.5 million school children aged 10 to 17 years, sustained such injuries as cuts, swellings and fractures in 1988 while in Egypt, 72.6% were injured in school and 27.4% elsewhere. The above global studies show a high occurrence of accidents to children in school but are not in the Kenyan context. In Kenya, information on children's accidents was available but systematic studies on school injuries let alone their causes were scanty and the available ones mainly on home accidents and fire related cases in some boarding secondary schools. In a bid to minimize accidents to children in school, the Kenyan government has stipulated safety guidelines for observation in all schools, but despite the efforts, accidents to pre-schoolers continue to persist as was noted in some local hospitals. A systematic study on causes of accidents among children in pre-schools was therefore necessary. The purpose of the study was to establish the causes of accidents among young children in Kenyan schools and particularly pre-schools in Westlands Division, of Nairobi Province. The division was selected randomly after Nairobi province had been purposively selected. The study was based on the Domino theory of industrial accident prevention adapted to suit school context using ex-post facto research design. Random selection of 56 (30%) schools from 187 was initially done then 131 (30%) teachers from 437 as well as 351parents from 3011. The 131 teachers and 351 parents were evenly distributed among the 56 pre-schools giving 112 teachers and 336 parents from whom two teachers and six parents per pre-school were randomly selected to respond to oral interviews and written questionnaires respectively. The sample sizes were adequate in descriptive research. The split half technique was used for reliability testing of instruments and 0.9 co-efficient from teachers' data obtained and 0.7 from parents. Data were analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Qualitative analysis involved describing and explaining the information on accidents and their causes. Quantitative analysis was employed to summarize data using frequency tables, percentages and graphs. One-way ANOVA was used to test all the five hypotheses. The results of the study show consistency with the Domino Theory that human error and specifically children's rough play/indiscipline were the greatest contributors of accidents in preschools followed by inadequate supervision. Poor condition of play facilities and their wrong use, as well as the poor condition of classroom learning facilities and their wrong use were next. It is therefore recommended that pre-school managers and teachers should keenly supervise children to curb down children's rough play/indiscipline, teach safe practices in children, and ensure availability of safe learning environment as well as play environment.