With a multitude of dangers lurking in and around the home, it’s important to be aware of potential causes of harm and to actively protect yourself and your family as much as possible. Child Safety Week, from the 3rd to the 9th of June, is designed to raise awareness of risks to children and offer advice on how accidents involving children and young adults can be prevented.
Child Safety Week is organised by the Child Accident Prevention Trust to promote safety messages through fun events locally and nationally. Events are held in schools, hospitals and children’s centres and help children and adults learn more about first aid skills and accident prevention.
These are some of the top areas of risk children may encounter in and around the home:
- Slips, Trips and Falls
Easily distracted by their surroundings, children are sometimes more susceptible to trips and falls as they navigate the home and outside environment. Having good lighting, especially around steps and trip hazards is a good investment. Closing and locking windows can prevent a child from climbing onto a windowsill and falling, but make sure the key is accessible in case the window is needed as an exit in the event of a fire.
Knowing basic first aid to help with bumps, bruises and broken bones is an essential family first aid skill.
- Fires, Scalds and Burns
With adult supervision, fire and heat can be educational for children. Learning to cook is exciting and older children may wish to create family meals. Teaching basic safety such as keeping pan handles turned inwards to prevent them being knocked over, and always checking the gas or electric is switched off at the end are things many adults take for granted but are important messages to pass on to children.
Knowing how to treat wounds caused by fire, acids and boiling liquids is essential as there are differences in treatment which can easily be learnt as a first aid skill.
- Knives, Scissors and Sharp Implements
Not just in the kitchen, sharp utensils and implements can be found almost anywhere around the house. Each room will have its own array of potentially harmful items and what may not seem harmful to an adult could have nasty implications for a child if they pick up a knife by the blade or carry scissors pointing towards someone.
Knowing how to stop bleeding quickly and safely is an essential first aid skill.
- Poisons, Cleaning Agents and Medication
Although many tablets, powders and liquids are clearly labelled, in the wrong hands they can be lethal. Detergents used in the washing machine or dishwasher should be stored out of reach of children and preferably in a lockable container. The same applies to toilet bleach, shower cleaner, mould remover and most things you’d find in the cleaning aisles of a supermarket. Medication should be clearly labelled and stored out of reach. Don’t forget to do the same for garden products, such as slug pellets, patio cleaner and lawn feed and seek immediate medical advice if any poisonous product is ingested or inhaled.
Knowing how to call an ambulance or doctor is an essential first aid skill.
- Allergies, Choking and Suffocation
Encourage children to talk about allergies, anything that makes them itch, sneeze, come out in a rash or cause a severe medical reaction. If young friends visit, make sure you check for nut or seed allergies with their parents before serving food or drink. Small objects in a child’s mouth can cause choking and suffocation. Be vigilant with toys with small parts, marbles, building bricks, anything which might be tempting for a child to taste. Plastic bags and packaging also need to be watched around young children.
Knowing how to dislodge and extract objects stuck in the throat can be the difference between life and death.
- Ponds, Paddling Pools and Bath Water
Water can be a great source of fun at home and in the garden. Keeping pet fish in a shallow pond or having a paddling pool in the summer can be entertaining for children and adults of all ages. But it only takes a few centimetres of water for a human to drown and children should never be left unattended near water. The same applies indoors, in the bath or shower, use non-slip mats and always keep an eye on the temperature of the water. Never leave the room for a length of time as it can only take a moment for an accident to happen.
Knowing CPR is highly recommended.
These are a selection of family first aid tips and advice for spotting risks and hazards at home. For more information on first aid courses and Child Safety Week please don’t hesitate to contact us.