Sharing is Caring theme announced for Child Safety Week
Today marks the beginning of Child Safety Week, an annual event organised by Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) to raise awareness of the potential accidents our children face every day, and how they can be prevented. The theme this year is ‘Sharing is Caring’, and here Andy Munden, Personal Injury Partner, discusses why this was chosen, and reveals the various tips from CAPT on the simple steps we can all be taking to keep our children safe.
Sharing is Caring
CAPT is committed to reducing the number of children and young people killed, disabled or seriously injured in preventable accidents. The theme of ‘Sharing is Caring’ has been chosen by the charity to encourage people to share their own experiences so that everyone can all learn from them and create a safer environment. During Child Safety Week this year, CAPT are not only asking people to share experiences surrounding accidents, but also what practical steps they are taking to avoid accidents, whether they occur in or outside the home.
“Accidents are a leading cause of death, serious injury and acquired disability for children and young people in the UK, accounting for three deaths every week and over 2,000 hospital admissions,” begins Andy. “As most accidents are, by their very nature, preventable, Child Safety Week is crucial in bringing the safety of our children to the front of our minds through education and awareness.”
How can I keep my child safe in the home?
“We all assume that our children will be safe in their own home, and so they should be,” continues Andy. “There are however various ways that an accident can happen in the home. Hot drinks for example, are the main cause of scalds for children under five, and could still scald a baby 15 minutes after it has been made. Keeping these well out of reach of children and ensuring you do not carry a drink at the same time as a child will prevent an incident of this kind. The same principle applies to household items such as an iron or hair straighteners, which again can still burn 15 minutes after they are switched off.”
Each day, approximately 45 toddlers are taken into hospital because they have had a serious fall. “Stairs are one of the most common ways a child will fall, either from their own inexperience or because the person carrying them has fallen,” explains Andy. “Make sure to always have one hand free if you are carrying a child on the stairs and fit stair gates as soon as your baby starts crawling.”
Other ways a child can fall and cause themselves harm could be from a highchair, window, or cots, beds and changing tables. To avoid an accident in this way, children should be strapped into their highchair, and furniture should not be up against a window which they could use to climb out. Safety locks should be fixed onto windows and the amount of space that a window can open should be reduced.
Another simple step parents can take in the home would be to move detergents out of reach. “The colourful and squeezy liquitabs that make the washing easier for us as adults can be deadly to children. These, as well as things like button batteries, which could look like sweets to a child, can poison a child if swallowed.”
How can I keep my child safe on the road?
Unlike adults, children have difficulty judging speed and distance, usually until they are at least eight years old. The number of children injured as pedestrians peaks at 12 years old, when many start to travel to and from school on their own. “Mobile phones play a big part in our road safety, not only for drivers who can get distracted but also pedestrians. Almost one in six children suffer an accident or a near miss whilst looking on their mobile phone trying to cross the road. As adults, it is our responsibility to set a good example, whether that is by not using our phones, stopping to look both ways before crossing the road or in our speed behind the wheel.”
As children get older and wish to be more independent from their parents, many will choose to cycle to school. Children aged between 10 and 15 are at greater risks from accidents on their bikes than other age groups. “Almost one quarter of cyclists killed or injured on our roads are children,” continues Andy. “Wearing a helmet can mean the difference between life and death, so we cannot stress enough the importance of wearing a helmet, no matter what age you are.”
Why is Child Safety Week important?
“The week is not only about raising awareness about what hazards our children may face on a daily basis, but also how we can all try to prepare for the unexpected,” concludes Andy. “Being aware of how your child is developing will bring new hazards to your attention, for example when they start to walk or crawl, they will be more susceptible to falls or reaching new objects they couldn’t before. These examples I’ve discussed are only a small number of ways of how children can have accidents, and the prospect of keeping them safe from all harm is an overwhelming one! However, what we hope to demonstrate, along with CAPT, is that while there are hazards, there are ways to prevent accidents and for our children to have a healthy and active childhood. Child Safety Week is an excellent ways of promoting awareness of those hazards to reduce the number of accidents that do happen.”
If you have a story to share from your own experience, or have tips for parents and those looking after children, you can visit the Child Accident Prevention Trust Facebook page here, or share it on social media using #childsafetyweek. If you have any questions for Andy or another member of the Personal Injury team, you can contact them on 0800 91 92 30 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.