Coffee With Gi? Sign up to get this exclusively in your inbox!

As parents, we worry. We worry about everything from how our kids are performing at school to how well they’re eating. But perhaps the biggest worries we have are around their safety. While some things are totally outside our control there are always small things we can do to make sure we’re taking as good care as possible of our kids. For Child Safety Week 2022, we wanted to highlight some of the best child accident prevention tips you can follow to help ease any worries you might have.

From burns to breathing, poisoning to road safety, button batteries and water, there’s tonnes to think about and we know it can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. But the Child Accident Prevention Trust are on hand to help.

We all know that accidents can happen. This absolutely isn’t about shame – kids are kids and no matter what protections we put in place, life can happen. When it does, we’re all guilty of playing things over and over in our mind, constantly wondering if there’s any more we could have done to protect our little ones. So we’re big believers in the idea that knowledge is power.

Here are a few things that might help you feel safe in the knowledge you’re taking control of the things you can.

 

Burns

A small child’s skin is so thin, it can burn really easily and they may not pull back from something that’s burning them. Hot drinks stay hot enough to scald a small child even after 15 minutes and eight to 18 month olds are the most vulnerable to these type of burns because they LOVE to grab. Safe zones where you know your child can’t grab your hot drink are your friend.

When it comes to hot water, scalds can happen in seconds. You know the deal with testing the water temperature with your elbow and putting cold water in first then topping up with warm. Running a bath this way minimises the risk of your little one getting scalded if they fall in. One of the big culprits of bath time burns can be kids playing with the hot tap.

High strength magnets found in toys and button batteries can cause burns when they’re swallowed so keep these out of the reach of any curious hands and get rid of any flat batteries ASAP.

Another thing to keep away from hands that have a tendency to get hold of things they shouldn’t? Hair straighteners and curling irons. These can still burn 15 minutes after they’re switched off, so keep them in a heat proof pouch or on a high shelf to cool.

 

Preventing poisoning

Little ones learn about the world by putting things in their mouths. You can see why bottles of cleaning products, squishy washing tablets and shiny, noisy packets of painkillers would pique their curiosity. But these things are obviously really dangerous for tiny people.

Laundry products are especially enticing – can you imagine how intriguing a jelly washing capsule looks when you’re small?! But these can do serious damage to children’s insides, skin and eyes. Keep them out of reach and look for products with a bittering agent like Bitrex. This tastes so gross, kids will spit it out instead of swallowing which can help to prevent accidental poisoning.

Don’t rely on safety caps. While they can slow kids down, they’re not always childproof. Rely on lockable cupboards or keeping things away from those curious hands.

Painkillers are the most common way for young children to be poisoned. Watch out for those left on the bedside table or in your handbag on the floor.

 

Breathing and Choking

There are a lot of things that can get in the way of our kids’ breathing. But there are loads of simple steps we can take to stop most of them from happening. And the good news? They all make a lot of sense.

It can take as little as 20 seconds for a toddler to die with an unsafe window blind cord. Cord free blinds are a great idea for children’s rooms and cleat hook or tensioner to keep blind cords and chains safely away are really helpful.

Babies can be suffocated by things they can’t push away – so keep cots clear and follow T.I.C.K.S advice for slings and carriers.

Babies and young children are still learning to chew, swallow and breathe in the right order so choking is, as you know, a real risk. But there’s loads you can do to reduce that risk. Cut round food like grapes and tomatoes into quarters, and hard food like carrots or apples into thin strips. Get those nuts chopped up real small. And if you want first aid tips, check out The Chokeables.

 

Falls

Falls happen. Scrapes, bruises and bumps are all part of growing up. But babies’ are top heavy – so their noggins take most of the impact, meaning they run the risk of serious head injuries when they do fall. You can’t stop every fall. It would be wild to try. You’d never get anything done! But there are some easy wins that mean you can look after your child’s head – and yours in the process.

Change nappies on the floor and as soon as your babe can stand, get big toys that they might climb on to get out of their cot out of the way. Get safety gates in before you think you need them because you never know when they’re going to make the moves.

Kids have a tendency to lean and reach for things they want to get their sticky hands on. If they’re in a highchair this can lead to them toppling out or trying to climb out. Likewise if they’re near windows, they might be curious about what’s going on on the other side. Their lack of understanding of danger can end up with them in tricky situations. Keep windows locked (with keys where you can find them) or on safety catches.

 

Water

As much as most kids love water, it can be really hazardous for babies and young children. Drowning doesn’t happen as it does in the movies. Kids don’t splash about and cry for help – it happens silently. They slip quietly under the water. We know it’s a scary thought. But once you understand how and where drowning happens, there are things you can do to help prevent it. Anyone, not just babies and children can drown in just a few centimetres of water.

Babies can slip out of bath seats, so don’t be tempted to leave your little one unattended, even for a moment. They’re not safety aids so get everything you need for bath time before you pop your child in the bath.

Paddling pools are a hoot but always empty it out after you’ve used it to reduce any risk. If you’ve got a pond, keep it fenced off or consider making it a sandpit (even more fun) when your kids are little.

For older kids, water can still be a risk, even if they can swim. They may overestimate how good they are at swimming, or underestimate the risks of where they’re trying to swim. Teach them to swim in places with a lifeguard and explain the dangers of swimming. Talk about strong currents, deep, cold water and things under the surface that might not be visible. Teach them that flags that are two-coloured with red and yellow show where lifeguards are patrolling at the beach.

 

Peace of mind

We know that all of this information can feel overwhelming and many accidents are part of growing up. We’ve all got our own scars and stories. But most serious accidents are preventable. And these simple child accident prevention tips, solutions and changes to our routines will help give you a little peace of mind.

For more information on Child Safety Week, head to Child Accident Prevention Trust.

Share with