Accidents are a leading cause of death and serious injury for children and young people in the UK. They account for three deaths and more than 2,000 hospital admissions every week.
The majority of injuries in children under five occur at home and the most common injuries for this age group are head injuries, open wounds, foreign bodies and fractures. Many of these accidents can be prevented – that’s why North Yorkshire County Council is supporting the national Child Safety Week campaign from the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT).
As parents and carers, people are far more likely to see people like fire officers or paramedics as heroes. Parents and carers play down their life-saving role, but the truth is, the small actions they take – day-in, day-out – to prevent accidents from happening in the first place are just as heroic as rescuing children after an accident has happened.
Having safety equipment in the home is one simple step that parents and carers can take to help create a safer environment for a child. It doesn’t replace the need for supervision, especially with younger children, but it can make protecting children easier. Safety gates stop babies and toddlers climbing stairs and falling down them. They also stop children going into rooms where it is dangerous for them to be, like the kitchen.
A working smoke alarm on each level of your home doubles your chances of getting out alive if a fire starts at night, so by having this equipment in the home parents are already reducing risks to themselves and their family. Anti-slip products, such as bath mats, can stop slips and falls – using these simple safety items could prevent a fracture.
Supporting the national campaign is just one part of the work the County Council is doing with its partner, Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, to help parents and carers to identify and manage potential dangers in the home. County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Supported Housing, said: “Children need opportunities to learn about their environment and take measured risks, but it is important for parents and carers to consider the dangers and take action to avoid injury.
“Taking time to think about your own home and make appropriate adaptions, such as fireguards and safety gates can help to make the home environment safer for your children.”
Jo Fambely, Locality Manager Children’s Services from HDFT, said: “Accidents often happen when they are least expected, so helping families understand the risks and the simple ways that accidents can be prevented is the aim of Child Safety Week.
“Parents and carers can easily feel overwhelmed by the demands that come with family life, and keeping children safe can feel very challenging. However, advice and support is available for families from their health visitor or local Children’s Centre.”
Child Safety Week 2018 runs from Monday 4 June to Sunday 10 June with the theme of “Safe children: together we’ve got this”. Health visitors and prevention service staff will mark Child Safety Week with events and displays in local Children’s Centres.
Parents and carers can find more information and ideas about accident prevention in the home on the Child Accident Prevention Trust website, www.childsafetyweek.org.uk. Advice and tips from the Child Safety Week campaign can also be found by following the Child Accident Prevention Trust on Facebook and Twitter and looking out for posts and tweets.
Free resources are available for groups and organisations that would like to run local activities and events to promote safety messages in a fun and engaging way. Visit www.capt.org.uk for more information.