Take time to prevent childhood injuries

Somerset County Council urges parents, carers and grandparents to ‘Take Time for Safety’ during Child Safety Week (1st-7th June.)

Every year over 1,000 children in Somerset are admitted to hospital as a result of injuries caused by accidents such as slips, scolds and eating inedible household items – with almost half these injuries (46%) a result of falls.

Most parents assume their home is a safe haven but most injuries to the under 5’s happen at home. Simple actions can be taken that will prevent serious injuries happening.

Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council said: “As part of Child Safety Week, we are launching our Somerset Home Safety Project directed at the most vulnerable children living in Taunton, Wellington and Sedgemoor in partnership with Somerset and Devon Fire and Rescue, Family Focus and getset. This includes installing home safety equipment to help keep babies and young children safe, fire safety checks and home safety advice to help make safety behaviour become a habit.

“Also during the week Somerset ‘getset’ Centres will be on hand to give families advice based on the Child Safety Week 2015 ‘Tea-time Terrors’ theme, because this is often the time of day when pressures on parents and carers are at their peak. An action pack of information is also available online giving accident prevention advice for this busiest time of a family’s day http://www.childsafetyweek.org.uk/”

Cllr. Anna Groskop, Cabinet Member for HR, Transformation and Health and Wellbeing at Somerset County Council said: “Accident prevention is a health and wellbeing priority not least because unintentional injuries are a leading cause of young lives lost. Many more children from poorer homes than high income families suffer injuries that are preventable and we will be working with these families in particular to promote child safety.

“The good news is that local authorities are in an excellent position to work in partnership to address this. I wish the Somerset Home Safety Project every success and hope it goes on to work with many parents and keep children safe.”

More information on how to prevent accidents in home is available from http://www.capt.org.uk/safety-advice and http://www.facebook.com/ChildAccidentPreventionTrust

Safety at Teatime – Top Tips

Falling for you – falls, slips, and trips

• The worst way for a baby to fall is being carried by an adult going down the stairs. Keep a hand free to hold on the rails when carrying your baby up or down the stairs
• As soon as your baby starts crawling, fit safety gates to stop them climbing or falling down the stairs.
• Take care not to put furniture in front of windows so there is nothing for children to climb onto
• Fit safety locks or catches to your windows to stop them opening too wide. Make sure your family know where the keys are in case of emergency.
• Strap babies into high chairs every single time.

Drowning – in deep water

• Most babies and children who drown do so at home in the bath or in the garden. Babies can drown in as little as 5cm of water. Stay with your baby or young child when they’re in the bath and pull the plug as soon as you’re finished
• Bath seats can be a great help but they’re not safety aids – don’t leave your baby alone in one, even for a moment.
• Empty the paddling pool after use, turn ponds into sand pits and fence them off.
• Be alert to drowning risks when you visit friends and family or are out and about

All hot and bothered
• Put the cold water in first and top up with hot, in case your toddler takes a tumble into the bath.
• Push kettles to the back of the worktop and try to use the back rings on the hob. Better still, keep children out of the kitchen when you’re cooking if you can.
• Put your hot drink down well out of reach – don’t rely on young children understanding not to touch. Put your baby down safely before you pick up your hot drink.
• Keep hair straighteners out of reach. They get as hot as an iron. Put them in a heat-proof pouch or on a high shelf to cool.
• Move cots away from radiators. Fit fireguards around fires and heaters.

Not so sweet!
• Keep laundry and cleaning products out of reach and sight of young children, they just look yummy to a child.
• Safety caps and lids slow children down but don’t rely on them – it takes just seconds for some three or four year olds to open them
• Look out for products with bittering agents such as Bitrex® when you’re shopping. They help prevent children swallowing products by making them taste really nasty.

– Ends –

For further information and to set up radio interviews during Child Safety Week please contact the Somerset County Council Press Office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk and also Somerset and Devon Fire and Rescue Press Office on 01392 872259/96

Notes to editors:

We are focusing on injuries to babies and children aged 0-4 years that happen in the home.

The Somerset Home Safety Project is based on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents ‘Safe At Home’ model.

1. Royal Society Prevention of Accidents ROSPA

Why are accidents important?

• The scale of the burdens and costs associated with unintentional injuries are truly staggering:
• They account for 13% of emergency hospital admissions and 5% of total hospital admissions
• They cost UK society an estimated £150billion every year
• They contribute to inequalities with children from poorer backgrounds being five times more likely to die as a result of an accident than children from better off families.