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What people could do to ensure children remain safe

Posted on the 1st June 2017

With the return to school from the half term break this year coinciding with Child Safety Week 2017, health professionals from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust are campaigning to shed light on the importance of child safety, both on the roads and at home.

Child Safety Week 2017 this year runs from 5-11 June under the theme “Safe Children: Sharing is Caring.” Parents, carers, teachers and communities are being called on to play their part in keeping children safe and sharing practical experience and knowledge on how to do this.

Accidents in a range of settings at home, when playing and on the roads are a leading cause of death, serious injury and disability for children and young people in the UK. They account for three deaths every week and over 2,000 hospital admissions. Many of these accidents can be prevented and, by their nature, often happen when they are least expected.

Cheryl Forrest, Service Manager at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust who oversees school nurses, said:

“Communities, health workers, families, teachers and professionals from a range of backgrounds can all play a positive role in helping families and children become more aware of safety within and outside the home. Did you know, almost 1 in 6 children suffer an accident or near miss, like stepping out onto the road without looking, whilst on their own mobile phones. Adults could set a good example to their children by never using their phones while crossing the road.

“Aside from that, there’s a whole range of scenarios just within the home in which children could choke, get scalded or burnt, fall ill having swallowed something harmful, or fall and hurt themselves. Practicing and talking about safety could encourage and prepare families and children to be more conscious and aware of how to remain safe. This is something that our school nurses and health visitors are repeatedly conveying.”

On average, six children under the age of five are killed or seriously injured on British roads every week. In 2014 alone, 187 children aged 0-4 were killed or seriously injured while on foot in the UK, while some 85 cyclists aged 8-11 were killed or seriously injured.

Here are some top tips to keep safe:

  • Almost 1 in 6 children suffer an accident or near miss, like stepping out onto the road without looking, whilst on their own mobile phones. Set a good example to your children by never using your phone while crossing the road.
  • A hot drink can burn a young child even 15 minutes after it has been made. Put your mug down somewhere a baby or toddler cannot grab at it.
  • Some 3 to 4 year olds can open child safety caps in seconds (‘child-resistant’ doesn’t mean ‘child-proof’). Keep medicines away from small hands too. Don’t forget the painkillers in your bag – painkillers are the most common cause of poisoning for small children.
  • Small children mistake a button battery for a sweet. If swallowed, a button battery can burn a hole through their throat and kill within hours. Keep objects with accessible button batteries out of young children’s reach and take care when replacing batteries.
  • Toddlers can choke on food that’s too big, even just the size of a grape. Always cut their food up into small, narrow pieces, especially round food like grapes and cherry tomatoes.
  • Drowning is silent and babies can drown in as little as 5cm of water. Stay with your baby or small child when they’re in the bath.
  • Get a smoke alarm fitted on every level of your home and test it regularly. Thick, black smoke from a fire can fill your home in minutes and kill your sleeping child in seconds.