Safer homes for Somerset children

Somerset County Council and its partners are urging parents to keep their children safe at home and ‘Turn off technology’ ahead of National Child Safety Week (6th – 12th June).

Accidents are a leading cause of death, serious injury and acquired disability for children and young people in the UK. Accidents often happen when people are distracted and serious accidents can happen very quickly – when answering a phone call or checking a text.

Somerset County Council, working in partnership with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Health Visiting Teams and getset family support workers, have launched a ‘Safer Homes’ project to support families to prevent accidents in the home.

Last year over 1000 Somerset children aged 0-14 years were admitted to hospital as a result of injuries caused by accidents such as falls, burns and scalds and eating inedible household items. 2 Falls account for two in five (42%) of these admissions, which is more than any other type of accident.

Most parents assume their home is a safe haven but that is where most of the falls (35%) happen and this is especially true of very young children.

The ‘Safer Homes’ project identifies families who need additional support with child safety equipment. To date there have been 65 visits to Somerset families through this scheme, which will continue through 2016-17.

Darren Bridges, Crew Manager, from Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “The scheme involves the fitting of stair gates and other equipment to help keep babies and young children safe, giving the family home a fire safety check and offering home safety advice.”

Councillor Anna Groskop, Cabinet Member with responsibility for health at Somerset County Council, said: “Child accident prevention is a health and wellbeing priority for us, as we need parents and carers to understand how accidents can be prevented and what action to take.

“Our Safer Homes project aims to provide additional support for families who are unable to take action on their own, as accidents are more likely to happen in households that we would consider vulnerable.”

Child accident prevention cannot be achieved by one organisation and so agencies have pulled together the Somerset Childhood Accident Strategy, to try and reduce the number of children being admitted to hospital as a result of injuries.

The Strategy is being launched in National Child Safety week, to raise the profile of what everyone can do to prevent child accidents. To view the strategy, go to: http://www.somerset.gov.uk/health-and-wellbeing/public-health-for-children-and-young-people/

The national message during the awareness week is to ‘Turn off technology’. By turning off technology at crucial times in the day, parents can give their children their focus and so keep them safer when pressures mounts.

For full child prevention advice and tips on keeping safe in the home, got to: http://www.childsafetyweek.org.uk