Daily Tips for child safety
While many parents are aware of common but serious risks, such as scalds from hot drinks and falls down the stairs, they are much less aware of the risk of injuries from detergent capsules, burns from hair straighteners, falls from windows and smoke from house fires.
These are the sorts of events that are harming children every day, make sure your children are safe around your home. Make your home a safer place by acting on one potential harmful outcome each day!
Monday - poisons
Today 11 toddlers will swallow something so potentially harmful that they will be admitted into hospital.
Detergent capsules are often concentrated and come in normal boxes with no child-resistant packaging, which means they’re easy for little fingers to get into. The colourful liquids and packaging of cleaning products can be particularly appealing to young children.
‘Child-resistant’ doesn’t mean ‘childproof’ as some 3-4 year olds can open child resistant caps in seconds. This means it’s really important to keep all cleaning products and medicines out of reach and sight – ideally in a high locked cupboard. Don’t forgot the painkillers in your handbag either – remember to put your bag out of reach of little fingers.
When you’re buying cleaning products, look out for ones with bittering agents such as Bitrex in, as they taste so nasty they are a real deterrent to children swallowing them.
Tuesday – fire
This week 2 toddlers will be admitted to hospital because they’ve inhaled smoke from a fire in the home. The thick black smoke from a fire can fill your home in minutes and kill your child in seconds.
If a fire starts when you’re asleep and you don’t have a working smoke alarm there’s a big chance the poisonous smoke will quickly make you unconscious and you’ll never wake up!
Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every level of your home and double your chances of getting your family out alive.
Take a few minutes every week to check your alarms are working. And pledge some time this week to fitting your smoke alarms, if they’re still sitting in their boxes!
Wednesday – burns
Every day this week 6 children will be so badly burned from things like hot drinks, hot bath water, hair straighteners and other hot appliances that they will be admitted into hospital. Make sure your child isn’t one of them.
Put your hair straighteners away out of reach after you finish using them – they stay hot for up to 8 minutes.
A hot drink can burn a young child even 15 minutes after it’s been made. So keep hot drinks out of children’s reach – put your baby down before you pick up yours and don’t pass hot drinks over children’s heads.
A toddler’s skin can be burnt really badly by hot bath water in just 5 seconds. So, when you’re running the bath, put the cold in first and top up with hot, then test the water with your elbow. And don’t leave young children alone in the bath in case they play with the hot tap.
Thursday – falls
Toddlers fall constantly as they find their feet. But some falls, like from a window or down stairs, or even whilst being carried, can damage babies’ and toddlers’ brains as well as their bodies. Today 45 toddlers will be admitted into hospital because they’ve had a serious fall.
You can prevent serious falls by fixing window locks, which stop windows opening more than 6cm (2.5 inches) wide. And stairgates can stop your child climbing stairs or falling down them. It’s also good to keep hallways and stairs free of toys and clutter, so that you don’t trip when you’re carrying your child.
Friday – road safety
If a child is hit by a car travelling at 40 mph, there’s an 80% chance they will die. If the car is travelling at 30 mph, there’s an 80% chance they will live. By allowing a little extra time for your journey you can reduce your risk of hurting a child.
And why not build in a little extra time when you’re out walking with your children, so you can teach them what you are doing and why. This will help them develop good road safety skills, so they can keep themselves safe when they’re older.
Remember children find it difficult to judge the speed or distance of traffic until they’re at least eight. So make sure they are never left to cross roads on their own.
Children can suffer even more at weekends than during the week - make sure yours are safe!