The vulnerability of children under the age of five to home hazards and accidents in Harare, Zimbabwe

Phillipa Mutswanga, Kudzai Eunice Makoni


Worldwide, vulnerability of children under the age of five to home hazards and accidents is a growing predicament causing deaths, health problems or permanent disabilities. These observations promoted this study because a country’s sustainability is dependent on child generations. Children under the age of five are at risk due to their sizes and experimental behaviours. Early marriages and the diminishing extended family’s guidance and support in child rearing are some of the factors contributing to experienced human induced risks and unintentional circumstances surrounding their vulnerability. The study’s main thrust is to increase awareness among the Zimbabwean parents so that they combat these risks to protect children, our future generation. Three key informants connected us to other parents who further connected us to other possible participants until the required participants who were ready to verbally give their participation consent were obtained. Twenty young mothers between the ages of 16 to 30 were selected through snowballing plus 20 other interested mothers without such a history. These mothers’ child rearing experiences were explored using open and closed questionnaires, thus a mixed approach was used to collect data which was further critically cross-checked and thematically analysed using quantitative and qualitative research standards. The findings indicated that incidents of child home injuries contributed to rates of child morbidity and mortality in the country due to inadequate child caring guidance and also the African perspective which considers the circumstances as natural and part of growing factors making them susceptible to the cited predicaments. The study further forewarns parents to desist from being inducers of hazards and accidents at their homes through leaving dangerous objects near children such as: coins; toys; used batteries; buckets with water; plastic papers/bags; sharp objects; liquids such as pesticides, liquor and paraffin; leaving babies or children on unsafe sofas/beds where they can easily fall and sustain injuries. The study proposed that such incidents be reduced through comprehensive baby caring lessons; post incident education/counselling and exposure to victims of human induced temporary/ permanent disabilities. Children are the future occupancy and leaders thus should be well looked after.


vulnerability, toddlers, home hazards and accidents, Zimbabwe

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