Journal of Home Economics. Vol. 1. June 1985 HOME ACCIDENTS IN NIGERIA: EFFECTS AND MEASURES FOR PREVENTION By O.O. OYERINDE ABSTRACT Accidents are prominent in the mortality rates of all age groups. Home accidents are no exception. The study identifies the cause and effects of home accidents on family life in Nigeria. Questionnaires were administered to 250 randomly selected sampled families in Oyo, Ondo, Bendel, Ogun and Kwara States. Subjects were required to examine each item on the questionnaires and indicate their degree of acceptance or non-acceptance on a 5-point Likert scale. The results were analysed using percentages, chi-square and rank order tables. Based on the findings of the study, it was concluded that home accidents bring a generally unpleasant and unhappy atmosphere in the homes. The paper suggests education for home safety and handling of home appliances including proper lighting of the family premises. INTRODUCTION An important factor for a happy home is sound health. Health is considered by many in terms of effective and enjoyable living. It is that quality of life which enables one to live effectively and enjoyably in his physical and physiological, environment. Unfortunately, many people consider disease, which is a harmful departure from normal health, as the only determinant of health (Adesanya 1984). This is far from the case. All the qualities of physique, emotion and metal well-being must be complete in the human being for anybody to be considered healthy. Injuries and departures from wellness resulting from accidents are not to be overlooked as forms of departure from sound health. Udoh, (1984) emphasized that of all the problems that result in human discomfort, injury, disability and death, accidents are in a class of their own. This is the case because man has not been able to create a completely safe environment, mainly because his environment is not a static one: it is dynamic and an environment without physical hazards is very difficult to achieve. Parts of this environment are: the home, the school and the work place (Adesanya, Udoh 1984). Though more comfort now exists in the modern world, some dangers accompany this optimal condition which we must live with. For instance, shocks, burns, falls and violent deaths can only stop if a stop is put to the use of electrical appliances in the homes and a ban placed on the use of gas and other forms of modern fuel for domestic purposes. Since this sophistication now pervade our environment, we must Journal of Home Economics. Vol. 1. June 1985 live with it, practice it and teach it. To remove everything in which there is an element of danger from our homes and lives will be to stop living (Boltonet al. 1963). Accidents are prominent in the mortality rates of all age groups. Home accidents are no exception. The age groups suffering the highest accident rates in the home are children under 5 years and elderly people. 65 years of age and over. A large part of these accidents that result in non-fatal injuries are referred to as home, nonoccupational accidents (Chernoweth and Selkirk 1953). Contrary to common opinion, home is one of the most dangerous places in which to be. Some of the accidents that occur here result in more deaths and serious injuries than do accidents on streets, highways and schools. Backing this ascertion, Bolton et al. (1963) found in the U;S. that each year 27,000 to 30,000 people die in home accidents, while over 4,000,000 are disabled and the cost including wage loss, medical expense and insurance runs to 800,000,000. The phrase ‘in the safety of your home has’ become a myth (Anderson 1970) because even when safety practices and attitudes are learnt in the places of work, on roads and other places they are often not carried into the home. Florio and Stafford (1969) confirmed this reasoning when they identified improper attitudes and habits as one of the five causes of accidents. Others include inadequate knowledge of and lack of awareness of the need for safety precautions, unsafe behaviours, insufficient skill on the part of auto-appliances users and environmental Hazards. PROBLEM The study is to identify the cause and effects of home accidents on-the family life pattern in Nigeria. The main assumptions of the study are that: Home accidents occur to people that stay long hours at home, that home accidents do not just occur, they are caused and that home accidents have varying forms of implications on the victim and other members of the family. The paper is expected to be of significance to the Nigerian public that care less about happenings in their homes, for the feeling that home accidents are inconsequential on the general family set up. This is besides the fact that it will contribute significantly to academic literature and form a strong basis for future related studies on family living. Journal of Home Economics. Vol. 1. June 1985 METHOD An adaptation of Udoh's (1984) questionnaire was made to evolve the ques tionnaires for the study. The chosen items from the original work was further validated by 5 colleagues in health-related fields from the University of Ife main Campus and Adeyemi College Campus. The questionnaires were administered to 250 randomly selected sample families in Oyo, Ondo, Bendel, Ogun and Kwara States. In administering the questionnaires the following criteria were used: (i) Only fifty (50) family heads in each state were used, (ii) Thirty (30) of such families were those living in self contained housing units, while twenty (20) of them were those living in other forms of housing units. The questionnaires were drawn to the Likert type style and rank order style. The first questionnaire had 16 items while the second and third questionnaires had 10 and 10 items respectively. Subjects were required to examine each item on the questionnaires and indicate their degree of acceptance or non-acceptance on a 5point Likert scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree. They were also required to rank the items according to its significance to the problems they were set out to solve. In addition it helped to test the reliability of each of the subjects' responses. All information and data were statistically analysed using percentages, chisquare and rank order tables. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS All questionnaires distributed were retrieved. However, not all the items were fully responded to, though the omissions were few and did not affect the over all intentions of the study negatively. The study revealed that families agreed on the causes of home accidents identified on the questionnaire except for items 14 and 15 where respondents did not agree on presence of stairs in the home and staying long hours at home as been good causes for home accidents. This finding rejects the belief of Chenoweth and Selkirk (1953) that "more people are injured in the home than any other place probably because people spend more time at home than in any other place." Journal of Home Economics. Vol. 1. June 1985 They found in their study of home accidents in Britain that thos e who spend the most time at home show the highest accident rates. Also the statement of Bolton et al. (1963) is not true to home accidents occurring in Nigeria as proven in TABLE 1 s/N 1. CHI-SQUARE ANALYSIS AND RANK ORDER OF THE CAUSES OF HOME ACCIDENTS IN NIGERIAN HOMES CAUSES SA A U D SD Total Lack of maintenance of Home appliances Ignorance about electrical home appliances Lack of Maintenance of Broken furniture in the rooms 2. 3. 4. Poor maintenance of lawns around the home 5, Lack of maintenance of tiles , baths and floors Lack of enough shelves and drawers to heap wares, glass, clothing’s 6 7. % 81.3 120 N 63 94.7. .% N 143 70 % 81.3 120 N 63 65,3 90 57 % 77,7 177 N 51 % 56.6 93 N 33 % N Carelessness at clearing remains of broken wares % 84.0 N 63.126 Carelessness at children % 13. play and poor supervision Lack of knowledge and patience in using gas and Mishandling of kerosene electric cookers stoves lanterns and containers Placing electric generators at wrong position at night Careless handling of clothing’s, 'carpets, toys, drugs and water Poor lighting N % N 14. Presence of stairs 15. Staying long hours at home 16. Lack of awareness that the home is dangerous place 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. = Significant % N % N % N % N % N % N 90 ;6 93. 141 8 141 84. 4 84 69.9 57 84. 8 78 68.0 63 25.7 69 63 105 96 111 90 45 12 22.7 4.0 6 45 % 68.6 60 N 84 df=4, p= < 0.05, TableX 2 * 9.5 2.7 16.0 21 15 6 5.3 - 12 1.3 17.3 18 21 5 12. 22.7 21 30 27 5.6 16.7 18 12 - 18 44.0 64 15 5.3 12 1.3 3 0.9 2 10.3 23 12.3 27 0.4 1 6.7 15 20.2 45 4.0 9 225 10.7 18. 6 5 251.5* 1 225 200.-5* 6 225 101.4* 9 216 225 179.4*11 108.2* 10 11 10 225 227.2* 7 3 225 5.4 9 3 224 5.4 9 3 17.8 21 18 14.8 21 12 224 10.0 21.4 21 15 30 198.8* RANK ORDER. 225 8.0 15 33 24 54.0 63 51 73.3 60 105 X2 219' 225 310.4* 299.6*3 193.4* 99.6* 201.0* 2 3 4 8 13 225 222 86.4* 14 6 225 147.6* 15 210 81.0.* 12 Journal of Home Economics. Vol. 1. June 1985 this study that presence of stairs does no1" constitute a serious cause of home accidents, These causes were ranked 15th and 16th respectively by respondents. Chisquare analysis of the items on the questionnaire showed that they were all significant. This implies that the levels of agreement and disagreement arrived at do not just occur, they are really so. See Table 1 for the results. It. was of note in the study that home accidents in Nigeria are not ranked highest as a form of accidents that lay claim to Fatality as is the case in the United States of America were upwards of 30,000 people die annually in home accidents, 4 millions are disabled and costs running as high as $800,000,000 are incurred through home accidents (Bolton et al., 1963). However, the study showed that though home accidents in Nigeria ranked only next to road accidents in fatality, home accidents ranked highest in occurrence of non-fatal injuries amongst the four main groups of accidents listed by Udoh (1984) viz — Home, School, Industrial and Automobile accidents. This finding tallies with the finding of Chenoweth and Selkirk (1953) that the large number of nonfatal injuries occur in the home in which motor-vehicles play no part. This only implies that even .though Nigerian .homes are not as sophisticated as their counterparts in the developed parts of the world, home accidents in Nigeria occupy the same position as those of the other developed countries. In any home that is based on love, peace and mutual relationship, the affairs and welfare of one of its members is the concern of all. This concern both for self and the other members of the family is multi-dimentional for the accident victim. Beside the physical pain and monetary implication Anderson (1970) added that there is a common pattern of emotional reactions and personalities in accident victims. Usually, he continued, combinations of outside pressure and inner tempest are present. The fact of the effects and influences of home accidents on the general atmosphere of the home is endorsed by a significant percentage of the subjects used for this study. Journal of Home Economics. Vol. 1. June 1985 TABLE 2 CHI-SQAURE ANALYSIS AND RANK ORDER OF THE IDENTIFIED EFFECTS OF HOME ACCIDENTS ON NIGERIAN HOMES S/N EFFECTS SA A U D SD Total X2 RANK ORDER 1. .2. 3. 4. Loss of Blood Sprains of joints and muscles Fractures of the bones of legs the legs and arms General body pain/weakness 6. Head injuries and Ruptures or Incisions Gastro-Intestinal disorder 7. % 81 N 39 % N % N % N % N Bruises, Burns and Scalds 5. % 86. 7 N N 54 72 42 91 .17 90 84 61 45 Concern and emotional stress % 77 of parents, brothers and sisters of N 68 Unplanned for expenses and waster of much needed pennies 10, Poor attendance at school and Work + = Significant, df = f, 8.0 141 12 9 144 9.3 21 12 9 120 6.7 15 21. 42 % 82 N 93 % 57 N 27 9 225 296.2 4 225 296.2 4 225 284.4 3 225 179.2 8 222 260.4 2 9.3 225 255.9 5 87 7 1 9 216 75.4 6 23.3 34 30. 866 33 18 219 81.2 7 12.6 6 251 143.0 9 132.0 10 120 1.4 3 0.9 2 3 6 6.8 12 8.4 12 20.8 13. 45 30 87 % 46.6 N 18 8. 9. 5.3 99 27 9.8 15 93 _ — 3 17.3 15 24 102 2.7 6 40.0 45 45 225 113.2 P = < 0.05, Table X 2 = 9.5 Table 2 above shows that items 1, 2, 3. 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10 on the questionnaire identifying 10 effects, of home accidents on the family as a whole, reflect positive response levels and values ranging from 90.7 percent for item 5 to 61.1% for item 6. The Table also shows the chi-square analysis of the opinions of the respondents listed for the effects of home accidents. The analysis showed that the data obtained were significant for each factor at 0.05 'level of confidence, with 4df and a table value of 9.5. On close analysis, the effects of home accidents specified in Table 2 can be categorized into three groups. Items 1 to 6 deal with effects having physical implications on the victims. Everybody is aware of the result of anaemia that may result from item 1 which renders the victim weak and less resistant to attack of diseases. Items 2 to 5 have the common characteristic of rendering the victims handicapped -because they are not capable of unhindered movement, either because of the growth of lesions, heamatoma; oesus or broken bones, general pain Journal of Home Economics. Vol. 1. June 1985 and weakness (Horn's 1978). All of these have unforetold economic, emotional and psychological implications in the long run. Item 8 falls into the second group. Frequent emotional stress and unhappiness have been known to precipitate or trigger off hypertension known to be one of the major slow killer diseases (Anderson 1970). By implication, home accidents when too frequent lead to untimely and painful death. Equally, the data provided in the table support results of similar studies carried put in some other parts of the world that home accidents have-as its effect, adverse monetary implications (Bolton et al., 1963). Unplanned for expenses and waste of much needed pennies scored very high in the respondents' view 82.7 percent of respondents endorsed this fact. Loss of money results most probably in the light of item 10 on Table 2 which started that poor attendance at school and work may 6e traced to after-effect of accidents leading to incapability to function to the best of one's ability. This factor ranked highest in the opinion of respondents. On the whole, the home is deprived of happiness, viability and joy when one of its members has fallen victim of an accident. Again all the identified effects of home accidents were found to be significant at 0.05 level of confidence. CONCLUSION The paper looked at a few previous studies to aid developing a theoretical basis for the study. Effort was made to identify the causes and effects of home accidents in Nigerian homes. The study revealed that home accidents are a common occurrence in Nigeria. The assumption that home accidents occur to people who stay long hours at home was refuted by the study. Also, it was shown by the study that though occurrence of home accidents in Nigeria ranked next to road accidents, accidents in Nigerian homes ranked highest in occurrence of non -fatal accidents among the four main forms of accidents reported. Ranking highest on the causes of home accidents in Nigeria was poor education, ignorance and lack of adequate instruction on safe family-living and handling of home appliance. The effects of home accidents found to be relevant to Nigerian homes were categorised into three, viz: (a) Physical and physiological effects on the victim; (b) Emotional and psychological effects on victim, parents, brothers and sisters; Journal of Home Economics. Vol. 1. June 1985 (c) Monetary and financial effects on the family through absenteeism from school and work. Based on the findings of the study, it could be concluded that home accidents caused by any of the identified causes, bring along with them a generally unpleasant and unhappy atmosphere in the homes. RECOMMENDATIONS Based on the findings of the study and response of respondents, the following recommendations are made as measures against the occurrence of home accidents in Nigeria: 1. Education for home safety and handling of home appliances should form a prominent aspect of health instruction in schools, colleges, and at adult education levels. 2 Proper lighting of the family premises. 3. Proper supervision of children at play. 4. Since legislation against the use of gas cookers, electric cookers and Washing machines will be unpopular, a high power media propaganda should be mounted by the government and the petro-chemical and electrical industries on proper use of these highly explosive and fire catching home devises. REFERENCES Adesanya, A.O., First aid and safety education in contemporary Nigeria, conference paper at the 7th Annual Conference of School health association, Enugu, Anambara State, 1984. Anderson, C:L., Health Principles and Practice, C.V. Mosby 6th edition, 1970, Pages 313-325. Anderson, C.L., Community Health, St. Louis, C.V. Mosby Coy., 1973. Bolton, W.W., Foster, J.O., Nicollas, J.S., Your Health Today and Tomorrow, Health and Physical fitriess laid Law Brothers, 1963. Chernoweth, L.S., and Selkirk, T.K., School Health Problems, Appleton Century Crofts, 4th Edition, 1953. Florio, A.E., and Stafford, G.T., Safety Education, N.Y., McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1969. Hollis, F.T., Special Physical Education: Adapted, Corrective, Developmental, 4th edition, W.B. Sainders Company, London, 1978, Pages 101-165. Journal of Home Economics. Vol. 1. June 1985 Udoh, C.O., Measures for the prevention of Automobile Accidents on Nigerian Roads, Conference paper at the 7th Annual Conference of School Health Association, Enugu, Anambra. State, 1984.