North Yorkshire County Council and its partner Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust have launched a resource designed to help health and childcare professionals, parents and carers keep the county’s children safe from unintentional injuries in the home.
The new resource will help health and social care professionals know about the support and services that are available for those looking after young children, which includes a tool kit designed to help parents and carers identify and manage potential dangers in the home.
The resource has been developed following the findings in a report by the County Council’s public health team that examined the scale of unintentional (accidental) injuries in young people across the county. The report showed that the number of children under 14 years old admitted to hospital because of injuries was much higher than the average for England.
NYCC and HDFT are working together to ensure that health and child care professionals know exactly what services are available to them and the families and carers they support and they can do this through using the new resource. They will also be directed to resources and information produced by partner organisations including the Fire and Rescue Service and the Child Accident Prevention Trust.
They have also developed a new toolkit called ‘Confident Parents, Safer Children’ and its focus is to give parents and carers of children under five the opportunity to understand, identify and minimise the risk of unintentional injuries, especially when a child begins to crawl and walk.
The toolkit provides information for parents and carers about key stages in a child’s development and the most common types of unintentional injuries and what can cause them. It also gives parents and carers an opportunity to think about risks in their own home through a self-assessment and draw up an action plan to avoid them.
“The number of hospital admissions caused by injuries in children in the county is a serious issue. Injuries are preventable and we can take action to reduce their occurrence” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, Executive Member for Children’s Services. “We know that the majority of the injuries in children under five occur in the home, which is why the new resources focus on ensuring support, training and tools are available to people working in under 5s services.
“The new toolkit will show parents and carers how to minimise risks through a self-assessment of their home environment and then gives them the opportunity to think about an action plan to improve safety for their child, in partnership with their health visitor or family support worker.
“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.
There are many risks inside the home and it can be difficult for parents and carers to keep track of them all. Fractures are the most common type of injury, accounting for over a quarter of hospital admissions for children under five in North Yorkshire. Parents and carers can take simple steps to prevent fractures, such as securing furniture and tall kitchen appliances to the wall, never leaving trip hazards on the stairs and not putting things that can be climbed on underneath windows.
“The aim of this work is not to stop children and young people from undertaking normal childhood activities – the ability to play and explore is important for many reasons, not least for ensuring good amounts of physical activity to reduce the risk of childhood obesity” said County Councillor David Chance, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Stronger Communities and Public Health.
“Children need opportunities to learn about their environment and take measured risks, however it is important for parents and carers to consider the dangers and take action to avoid injury”.
The new resource was launched at an event for professionals working with 0-5s in Scarborough. Four further events for professionals have been held in Catterick, Thirsk, Knaresborough and Selby – for more information please contact Katie Needham, consultant in public health for North Yorkshire 01609 797045.