Is your home safe for your kids?

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  • We all know that stairs, open windows and pans full of boiling water can pose risks to our children – but according to a charity, many parents aren’t aware of newer risks like hair straighteners and detergent capsules.

    The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) found that nearly 100 babies and toddlers are admitted to hospital every day because of an accident they’ve had at home.

    The four key areas of risk for kids are poisons, falls, burns and fire. In fact, a recent survey showed that one in 20 cases of child burns was as a result of hair straighteners and styling tongs.

    But CAPT say that just taking two minutes a day to check your house can make a big difference to your kids’ safety.

    How can I make my house safe?

    The CAPT say following these tips will help to keep your kids safe:


    Detergent capsules and concentrated detergents can pose new risks to children. Keep all cleaning products and medicines out of reach and sight – ideally in a high locked cupboard. Use products with child safety caps and look out for products containing a bittering agent such as Bitrex. Don’t forget the detergent capsules under the sink and the painkillers in your handbag.


    Falls from windows can cause severe injury or even death. You can prevent them by fitting safety catches to stop your windows opening too wide. Safety gates can prevent serious falls on the stairs.


    Hair straighteners can still burn your child eight minutes after they’ve been unplugged. Put them out of reach straight away after use. Remember to put hot drinks out of reach too, as they can still burn a small child 15 minutes after they’ve been made.


    A young child can die in under a minute from breathing in poisonous smoke. Fit a smoke alarm of every level of your home and take a few minutes each week to check they are all working properly.

    Get more info on child safety from the Child Accident Prevention Trust

    Child safety advice video

    Most families are aware of the dangers to children but a survey has shown an alarming number of parents and grandparents don’t put their knowledge into practice or have worrying gaps in their knowledge.

    These statistics need not be so high. By taking a few small safety precautions, parents, grandparents and carers of small children can help to make life safer for the children in their care.

    Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust is urging people to ‘make a change, make a difference’. Watch the video, below.


    The facts

    * More accidents happen at home than anywhere else.

    * 2.7 million people go to hospital a year after home accidents. About a million are children, half of whom are under five.

    * 4,000 people a year die in home accidents, including 120 children under 14.

    * At least 43 per cent of accidental injury in the home involves a fall. Around 10 children die every year after plunging from windows or stairs. The worst injuries are when a child falls from a height onto something hard, sharp or hot.

    * In 2002, 12,300 people were admitted to hospital after falling on wooden floors compared with 2,900 five years earlier.

    * Other common accidents include burns, poisoning and bumping into objects like doors and tables.

    * More than 36,000 children receive treatment for poisoning or suspected poisoning incidents annually.

    Why do they happen?

    Inquisitiveness – Very young children have boundless curiosity and no sense of danger. A lethal combination
    Inadequate supervision – Never leave a small child in the bath for even a couple of minutes while you answer the door,’ says Roger Vincent of RoSPA. ‘You could be delayed which could lead to disaster.’
    Horseplay and bravado is another cause. Boys are most likely to have accidents perhaps because they’re more prone to showing off and over-reaching their abilities when playing with friends.

    Think about danger spots

    The largest number of accidents happen in living/dining rooms while the most serious happen in the kitchen or on stairs.

    Things that you may not have considered a danger in your home before, could become a problem with the slightest change, for example, replacing your carpet for wood or laminate floors could increase chances of an accident. ‘People slip after walking in socks, or a rug slips and they skid,’ says Toger Vincent, spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

    Tips on staying safe

    The best way to assess risks is to look at the world from your child’s level. Get down on your hands and knees and look around you. Can you see any electrical equipment lying around? Are there sharp knives in reach? A cup of tea which could scald?

    * Fit safety gates for stairs, keep stairs clear, replace worn or damaged carets, fit child-resistant window locks, go easy with polish on wooden floors (and make sure children wear shoes or socks with grips on while running around) and never put anything that can be climbed on under a window.

    * Keep lighters and matches out of their reach, fit a smoke alarm and fireguard.

    * Never hold a child and a hot drink at the same time, and always run the cold water first in the bath.

    * Keep medicines and chemicals in a locked cupboard, buy products in child-resistant containers and always store chemicals in their original containers, tightly sealed.

    * Avoid choking accidents by making sure older children keep their toys away from younger siblings and keep small objects such as marbles away from children under three.

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