Home In focus Could these tips help keep your child safe?

Could these tips help keep your child safe?

by Gemma Melling

Families are being urged to ‘Turn off technology for safety’ this Child Safety Week (6 – 12 June).

This year’s campaign is highlighting the dangers of accidents happening when we’re distracted by answering a telephone call or checking a text.

By turning off technology at crucial times in the day, we can give children all our attention to keep them safe when pressures mount.

It’s also a good example to children and young people to turn off technology when crossing the road or other times when you need to concentrate to stay safe.

Child Safety Week is the flagship annual campaign run by the Child Accident Prevention Trust. It aims to help families understand the risks, as well as the consequences, of accidents – and most importantly, the simple ways that accidents can be prevented.

There are lots of other simple actions we can take to keep our children safe.

Top tips for child safety

Burns and scalds

  • Push kettles to the back of the worktop and use the back rings on the hob. Better still, keep children out of the kitchen when you’re cooking if you can.
  • Keep hot drinks well out of reach.
  • Keep hair straighteners out of reach when you’re using them. Put them in a heat-proof pouch or on a high shelf to cool.
  • Put the cold water in first and top up with hot when running a bath.
  • If swallowed, a button battery can burn through a child’s throat and lead to serious internal bleeding and even death.  Keep objects with accessible button batteries well out of young children’s reach. Store spare batteries somewhere safe and take care when replacing batteries.
  • Move cots and baby walkers away from radiators and fires. Fit fireguards around fires and heaters.

Choking

  • Fit a cleat hook to tie blind cords and chains back. Keep children’s bedroom furniture away from blind cords and chains.
  • Babies can choke on liquids and can’t push a bottle away. Cut food up into small pieces for young children and encourage them to sit when eating.   Encourage older children to put small parts from their toys away.  Don’t prop a baby’s bottle up and leave them to feed.
  • Young babies can suffocate on nappy sacks if they pull them into their mouths. Store nappy sacks safely away and never under the cot mattress.
  • Don’t use duvets, pillows or cot bumpers for young babies and put them down to sleep in the ‘feet to foot’ position.  Don’t sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby. Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink or take drugs or are extremely tired, if your baby was born prematurely or was a low birth-weight.

Poisoning

  • Keep laundry and cleaning products out of reach and sight of young children.
  • It takes just seconds for some three or four year olds to open safety caps and lids.  Look out for products with bittering agents such as Bitrex® which help prevent children swallowing products by making them taste nasty.
  • Keep all medicines and painkillers out of reach and sight of young children, ideally in a high up, lockable cabinet.  Watch out for painkillers left on the bedside table or in the handbag on the floor.
  • The high nicotine levels in e-cigarettes are highly toxic to young children. Young children can mistake reed diffuser bottles for a drink with a straw. Keep these products well out of reach of young children.
  • Fit a carbon monoxide alarm in every room with a gas appliance or fire. Have your gas appliances serviced regularly.

Falls

  • As soon as your baby starts crawling, fit safety gates to stop them climbing or falling down the stairs.
  • Strap babies and toddlers into their highchairs.
  • Don’t put furniture in front of windows to prevent children climbing up to them. Fit safety locks or catches to windows and make sure your family know where the keys are in case of fire.
  • Don’t leave a baby alone on a changing table or raised surface, even for a moment. As soon as your baby can stand, remove any large toys they might climb on out of their cot.
  • Just one child on a trampoline at any time. The biggest risk on trampolines is from adults and children bouncing together, due to the difference in weights. Use safety netting or a safety cage so children can’t be thrown to the ground.

Road safety

Of all the pedestrians killed or seriously injured during school run times, almost a third (32%) were aged 11-12.

  • Most 11 year olds own a mobile phone – the age when they are the most at risk of being injured as a pedestrian.  Speak to your child about the dangers of using their phone while they are near roads.
  • Make sure you use the right car seat for your child’s age, weight and height.  Use a child car seat or booster seat for all children under 135cm and under the age of 12.
  • Almost one quarter of cyclists killed or injured are children, with 10 to 15 year-old riders at greatest risk.  Every primary school in Knowsley is offered free Bikeability on road cyclist training – make sure that your child benefits from this and ensure that your child always wears a helmet when cycling.
  • The risk of a pedestrian dying when hit by a car rises sharply as the speed increases above 30mph. The risk of death is approximately four times higher when a pedestrian is hit at 40mph than at 30mph.
  • Drivers speaking on mobile phones are four times more likely to be in a crash that causes injury, whether on a hands-free or hand-held phone. Their crash risk remains higher than normal for up to 10 minutes after the call has ended.
  • Texting drivers have 35% slower reaction times and poor lane control. One large-scale study found texting drivers were 23 times more likely to crash than a driver paying full attention.

Drowning

  • Babies can drown in as little as 5cm of water in the bath. Never leave your baby alone in the bath – even if they’re in a bath seat – and pull the plug when bath time is over.
  • Turn your pond into a sandpit, fence it in or cover it when your children are small, and empty paddling pools after use.
  • While at the beach keep children off inflatables when an orange windsock is flying at the beach, as they can be swept out to sea.
  • Teach children to swim between the red and yellow flags which mark areas patrolled by lifeguards.
  • There are many dangers for children swimming in canals and rivers such as strong currents, deep water and hidden underwater objects.

Fire Safety

The smoke from a fire can make you unconscious while you sleep and can kill your child in less than a minute.

  • Keep matches and lighters out of sight and reach of young children. Stub your cigarette out properly and avoid smoking if you’re really tired – or in bed.
  • Use an electric chip pan, or only half fill a standard pan with oil.
  • A growing number of house fires are caused by hair straighteners left switched on.
  • Don’t overload electrical sockets. An extension lead running from one socket will be dangerously overloaded with just a toaster and kettle plugged in.
  • Keep stairs and any escape routes clear of clutter at night, so you can escape quickly in an emergency.  Keep keys to any doors on your escape route in one place so you know where they are.
  • Place working smoke alarms upstairs and downstairs, and test them every week. If your alarm keeps going off while you’re cooking, don’t remove the battery – as you may forget to put it back. Encourage children to get involved in testing the smoke alarms.

Further information is available from http://www.childsafetyweek.org.uk/