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Each year the first week of June marks National Child Safety Week – an opportunity to raise awareness and educate parents, carers, and children themselves on safety risks and dangers.

 

No one likes to think about their child being hurt but sadly the statistics around hospital admissions and deaths due to accidents such as falls, bike accidents, choking and other accidents at home are quite shocking. In the UK, over 12,000 children and young adults under 19 die every year from accidental injury.

 

Whether you have young babies, crawlers, toddlers, school children or teens, here is a quick round up of things you can do to minimise the risk of injury to your loved ones.

 

Lockdown Your Safety Measures

 

As we remain in lockdown and with many children still not attending school, we take a look at some ways to keep your children safe from injury in the home and whilst venturing outdoors to enjoy the sunny weather.

 

Much of it is common sense but it is easy to become complacent and with the additional pressures the NHS are facing at the moment and with many families shielding from Covid-19, parents have wanted to avoid trips to A & E. Many will have said something along the lines of “we can’t be taking you to hospital at the moment” to calm their excited children from running around the house.

 

Minimising Risks When Working From Home

 

As many parents try to juggle working from home along with looking after children, there are a few things to be mindful of;

 
  • Do not leave computers and electrical equipment unattended.
 
  • Be careful of hot drinks that you usually enjoy in peace being picked up or knocked over.
 
  • Ensure extension leads and laptop cables are not causing trip hazards in your home.
 
  • If possible, try to have a dedicated workspace so that equipment and paperwork is not easily accessed by children. Something as simple as slipping on a piece of paper on a wooden floor can cause a nasty head injury.
 
  • It can be difficult to give children your full attention whilst working from home. Try to manage your workload into shorter periods of time to allow you to check on children who are entertaining themselves. The younger they are, the more often they will need checking on. Speak to your employer about flexible working, if you are having difficulties completing your work during normal working hours, as you may find it more suitable to work later on once your children are settled.
 
  • Avoid listening to music or wearing headphones whilst working so that you can listen out for any falls or cries from your children.
 
  • Online safety is also worth considering when children are being left to entertain themselves for longer periods than normal. Ensure that you have the relevant parental controls on your children’s tablets, phones and game consoles to prevent them from accessing materials that they should not be seeing.
 

Home Safety Checklist

 

The home is the most common place for accidents to happen. More accidents happen in the lounge or living space than anywhere else in the home as this is where people tend to spend most of their time. Children under 5 and adults over 65 are most likely to suffer an injury at home, with 6,000 people dying each year from injuries sustained in the home.

 

A good way of auditing the risks in your home is to do a walk around each room and consider the following dangers.

 
  • Burns and Scolds. Check that children are unable to reach or turn on appliances such as hair straighteners, hobs and irons. Keep hot drinks, candles and cooking appliances out of children’s reach. Small children’s skin is extremely thin and delicate, so it burns easily which is very painful and traumatic.

  • Swallowing Dangers. Anyone with small children will know that they like to put anything and everything into their mouths. This is the way that young children explore textures and tastes and also is common with teething babies and toddlers. Ensure that children are supervised when playing with small toys or games with small parts. Coins, batteries, buttons and marbles are often popped into mouths very quickly without parents knowing. When preparing your children’s lunches also consider foods, such as grapes or tomatoes that are choking hazards and ensure that they are cut up.
 
  • Lockdown your Cleaning Cupboard & First Aid Kits. Many households store their cleaning products in cupboards under the sink. Whilst it is handy to have the bleach near the toilet or the washing tablets in the kitchen, think about the consequences if children get their hands on these products which are often abrasive and extremely dangerous. Consider door locks or storing products in cupboards that are out of reach. Similarly make sure that medication and tablets are not left on bedside units or by the sink where young children may mistake them for sweets.
 
  • Trips and Falls. Falling is the most common accident in the home. Make sure your stairs are clear of trip hazards and have a handrail to assist children going up and down the stairs. Try to stop children from running in the house and on the stairs, particularly if they are running about in socks on a wooden or tiled floor. Keep walkways clear, ensure cables and wires are tidied and that rugs have non-slip stickers underneath them.
 
  • Garden Safety. Being contained to the house during this glorious weather means that many families will be enjoying activities in the garden. Trampolines are one of the biggest hazards in UK gardens and are the cause of 13,000 accidents each year. Make sure children are supervised when bouncing and ensure that children of different weights are not jumping at the same time as this is often the cause of bouncing injuries like broken ankles, bumped heads and falls. Check that garden ponds are covered or safe for young children who are exploring the garden and also ensure that gardening tools, weed-killer and lawn mowers are out of reach.
 

Minimising Risks Whilst Out and About

 

The UK has been cursed with Covid-19 but blessed with beautiful weather at the same time. Many families are enjoying simple pleasures such as going for walks and playing sports outside. There are a few things to be aware of whilst enjoying some freedom with your children this summer:

 
  • Being cautious of roads. Although traffic may seem quieter than normal, some motorists are taking advantage of the open roads and speeding. Make sure you are still using safe places to cross and are not walking down country lanes that vehicles can quickly appear on.
 
  • Lots of people are out walking their dogs at the moment and whilst they should be kept on leads in public places it is worth being aware that if you have small children or a dog of your own to avoid any injury. Children can be injured by dogs knocking them over, jumping up or biting. Educate your children about petting dogs that they do not know and always supervise children who are playing with or walking pets.
 
  • Remember to apply sun cream and hydrate with plenty of water regularly as the weather is particularly hot at the moment.
 
  • Be careful of children swimming in open water, lakes, rivers and pools. They should be supervised at all times and even a shallow paddling pool in the back garden can be dangerous. Remember that small children can drown in as little as an inch or two of water.
 
  • Playing sports outside is a great way to have fun and keep fit, but ensure your children are aware of how to play safely and in sensible outside spaces.
 
  • When riding bikes, scooters or skateboards ensure that children have the appropriate protective equipment. Helmets, knee pads and elbow pads can all protect your child’s body whilst they have fun.
 
  • For many people, car journeys have been few and far between lately but it is still important to ensure children are remembering to fasten their seatbelts before you set off.
 

Back to School Safety

 

Your children may have got used to living in a bit of a bubble over the last couple of months, but if they are one of the year groups who are returning to school this week then they may need reminding of the green cross code. Although the roads may not be as busy as usual it is worth reminding children of safe places to cross the road so that they can get to and from school safely.

 

For more information on children’s safety and also some resources for parents and children, please visit the CAPT website: https://www.capt.org.uk/Pages/Category/child-safety-week

 

Other articles you may be interested in reading:

6 Signs That You Have a Personal Injury Claim

Injured in a Public Place

Action for Brain Injury Week

   

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.