Family Safety Week Begins

This week is Family Safety Week in the UK, which gives organisations and families the chance to highlight the importance of preventing childhood accidents.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has called for families to think about how to prevent accidents and injuries. This year it is particularly timely, as the coronavirus outbreak has kept families together in the home and hospitals busier than ever.

RoSPA emphasised the importance of making sure “we stay out of A&E departments to free up frontline healthcare workers so they can concentrate on dealing with the virus”.

Under-fives most at risk

According to RoSPA, the “large majority” of accidents involving young children take place in their own homes. This is often while carrying out everyday tasks, like making or eating a meal, or caused by everyday household items, like blind cords or kettles.

The society pointed out that children under the age of five are most at risk, with 60 under-fives on average dying every year after an accident. Meanwhile, of the 89,000 children up to the age of 14 who are admitted to hospital for treatment, just under half are under five.

RoSPA added that on average, roughly half of under-fives have to visit A&E every year after an accident that didn’t have to happen.

Preventing accidents at home

With so many of us at home for extended periods at the moment, the potential for accidents may be higher than it usually would. Families should therefore ensure that they are doing all they can to keep everyone safe.

It’s vital to watch out for children. This is particularly true when the weather is getting nicer and windows are being left open. Make sure you’re not leaving any furniture near windows as, according to RoSPA, “it’s amazing what toddlers can use as a ladder”.

Pay attention to your stairs too. Keep them free of any clutter that your child – or you – could trip on. If you have young children, fit wall-mounted safety gates at the top and bottom of your staircase. Slips, trips and falls are common among children, but they can be deadly when they’re from a height.

Dangers during playtime

When school is closed and the kids are at home, they’ll have to use the place as a playground. This will mean that you might have to keep a closer eye on them during playtimes. You may also want to get down to their level to see what they might be interacting with. Getting down on all fours could help you identify any hazards you might ordinarily miss.

When they’re expected to be at home for prolonged periods of time, they might end up playing games inside that should be played outside. As well as potentially causing some frustration if you’re trying to work, this could result in some danger for the kids.

They may end up running around inside, which means that your usual furnishings could become a hazard. Make sure you’re taping down any rugs, cables are tucked away and floors aren’t left wet. Secure any furniture that could be climbed to the wall and keep any fires well guarded.

Keeping your family safe in the home can be done simply by paying more attention and keeping an eye on your kids. Keeping your home as free of hazards as possible will help to prevent accidental injuries in children, particularly the youngest ones.

It is especially important, at this challenging and unprecedented time, to allow our hospitals and medical professionals to focus their attentions on more pressing demands. Making a concerted effort this Family Safety Week to keep our families secure and well can help in this effort.


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