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Four children admitted to hospital every hour due to accidents in the home

Just two minutes a day can help prevent serious childhood accidents.

Healthcare professionals have reported that four children are admitted to hospital every hour after suffering accidents in their own home. Nearly 100 babies and toddlers fill hospital beds every day. These figures are in stark contrast to the results of a new survey2, which show that four in five parents of under fives believe their home is the safest place for their child.

The survey, commissioned by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) to coincide with the launch of Child Safety Week, also uncovered a feeling of helplessness among parents of young children. While almost three-quarters worry about their child having a bad accident, nearly half believe there is nothing they can do to stop accidents from happening. Of even more concern is the one in five parents who think that ensuring their home is a safe haven for their child takes too much time and energy.

The survey also revealed that 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.

Commenting on the survey findings, Katrina Phillips, CAPT’s Chief Executive said: “Caring for a small child is hugely demanding, so it’s no wonder parents feel pushed for time. What’s worrying is that – with four small children hospitalised every hour – many parents think there’s nothing they can do to stop these accidents from happening or that it will take too much time and energy.

“But parents needn’t feel overwhelmed by accidents, as just two minutes a day making small changes in their home – the same amount of time it takes to clean your teeth each morning – can make a huge difference to their child’s safety.”

Dr Amber Young, Chair of the British Burn Association Prevention Committee, said: “Burns from hair straighteners, hot bath water and hot drinks can take months or even years of painful skin grafts before they heal. Yet many of these serious injuries can be prevented by taking just a few minutes to do things differently.”

The survey also revealed that dads take a more relaxed approach when it comes to child safety, with just 60% saying it’s something they worry about, compared to 80% of mums. 70% of dads also think that people worry too much about accidents, saying it’s “health and safety gone mad”, compared to just 50% of mums.

CAPT has identified four key areas of risk to young children within the home and is encouraging parents to make small changes to reduce the risk of serious accidents.

Poisons

Fact: Today, 11 toddlers will swallow something so potentially harmful that they will be admitted into hospital. Detergent capsules and concentrated detergents can pose new risks to young children.

Tips: Keep all cleaning products and medicines out of reach and sight – ideally in a high locked cupboard. Use products with child safety caps and look out for products containing a bittering agent such as Bitrex®. Don’t forget the detergent capsules under the sink and the painkillers in your handbag.

Falls

Fact: Today, 45 toddlers will be admitted to hospital because they’ve had a serious fall. Falls from windows can cause severe injuries or even death.

Tips: You can prevent serious falls by fitting safety catches to stop your windows opening too wide. Safety gates can prevent serious falls on the stairs.

Burns

Fact: Every day this week, six children will be so badly burned that they will be admitted to hospital. Hair straighteners can still burn your child eight minutes after they’ve been unplugged.

Tips: Put your hair straighteners out of reach straight away after you use them. Remember to put hot drinks out of reach too, as they can still burn a small child 15 minutes after they’ve been made.

Fire

Fact: During Child Safety Week, two toddlers will be admitted to hospital because they’ve inhaled poisonous smoke from a fire in their home. A young child can die in under a minute from breathing in poisonous smoke.

Tips: Fit a smoke alarm on every level of your home and take a few minutes each week to check they are all working properly. 

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