It is Child Safety Week on June 3, so here is are tips to keep children safe at home
Children are often absorbed in their own interests and can be unaware of the dangers around them. There are several ways to help prevent injuries to children in the home, including supervising children, being aware of the risks and creating a safe environment.
Accidents can happen very quickly, and knowing what to do without panicking can be the difference between life and death. We always recommend that childcare professionals and parents complete a Paediatric First Aid course.
Keep children safe at home – child poisoning
Children under the age of five account for most cases of poisoning. This is because babies are curious and like to put everything in their mouths, and toddlers love to explore and will copy what you do. Even older children aged between three and five years may understand what they can and can’t eat,
but may still be at risk from accidental poisoning, by confusing colourful medicines for sweets for example.
Keep children safe at home – hot Drinks
Hot drinks cause most scalds to children under the age of five, with many injuries taking place when a child has reached out and pulled down a cup of hot liquid on themselves. It is important to remember that a child’s skin is much more sensitive than an adult’s and a hot drink can still scald a child
fifteen minutes after being made.
Keep children safe at home – hair Straighteners
Hair straighteners and styling tongs are responsible for a growing number of children needing hospital treatment for burns. A hair straightener can get as hot as an iron, and can seriously burn a child’s skin along time after being unplugged.
Children commonly burn themselves with hair straighteners by picking them up or by stepping on them, in both cases causing serious burns. If you use hair straighteners it is important to always store them out
of reach of children immediately after use.
Keep children safe at home – in the bathroom
Hot bath water is responsible for the highest number of severe and fatal scalding injuries among young children. Many scald accidents take place when a child gets into the bath before its ready, or
if they play with the hot tap when in the bath.
It is important that if you are bathing a child you stay with them at all times to ensure they are safe, as serious accidents can easily happen.
When running a bath:
- Always add cold water BEFORE adding hot water.
- The temperature of a bath should not be more than 38 degrees (which is around body temperature).
- Use a thermometer to check the bath temperature, or test the water temperature using your wrist or elbow to give you a good idea of how it will feel for your baby or toddler.
Keep children safe at home – suffocating and Choking
Young children often explore their world by putting things in their mouths. Choking is usually caused by food, toys, and other small objects that can easily lodge in a child’s small airway.
It is important to pay special attention to the following to protect children in your care from choking:
Keeping all plastic bags and nappy sacks out of sight:
- Keep plastic bags out of the way of children.
- If plastic bags are not kept in a locked cupboard, keep them in one large bag and tie a knot in it near the top. This will prevent younger children opening the bag, reducing the risk of suffocation.
- Nappy sacks are particularly dangerous near babies, because they naturally grasp things and pull them to their mouths, but then find it difficult to let go. Nappy sacks are small and flimsy, and cling to babies’ faces so they can’t breathe.
Create a safe sleeping environment
Blankets pose a very strong risk to babies, as they aren’t strong enough to push blankets away from their faces, and may wriggle down under the covers. When placing a baby in a cot, always position them at the bottom of the cot to stop them squirming down.
Because babies can’t push bedding away from their faces, duvets or quilts should not be used with babies under 12 months. Blankets or a lightweight, age-appropriate sleeping bag can be used to stop the baby wriggling down into it.
Almost half of all choking accidents in young children involve food – sweets and fishbones are the most common causes. Non-food choking accidents are most often caused by coins in children aged three years or under.
Children are at most risk of choking when they are tired, crying or running around. Therefore try to feed children before they get too tired to concentrate on eating properly, and if a child is crying, don’t try to give them any food.
Where possible eat with children at the table, or at least while sitting down. Do not let a child run, walk, lie down or play with food in their mouth.
When feeding young children:
- Cut food for young children into bite pieces and teach them to chew their food well.
- Cut grapes, cherry tomatoes, and other round foods in half
- Cook hard vegetables such as carrots or celery sticks until slightly soft, grate them or cut them into small pieces.
This blog was written by our partner agency Babyem who provide a number of childcare and maternity courses for parents and professionals. For more information visit: www.babyem.co.uk