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Preventing Accidents

More accidents happen at home than anywhere else. Every year over two million children are taken to A&E due to accidents in the home. There is lots you can do to keep your children safe in and around the home. Watch the animation below for our top hints and tips.

  • Around 44% of accidents where children need medical care are because of falls. The risk of falls starts very early.

    Babies can fall from changing tables or from beds. Babies should never be left on a high surface – you never know when that first time they roll or move themselves will happen!

    • The safest place to put your baby is somewhere designed for them, like a pram or cot.
    • If you use a bouncy chair, swing seat, high chair or car seat it is important you use the safety straps provided including the over the shoulder straps every time.
    • When you are carrying your baby make sure you keep the area tidy and clear so that you are less likely to trip. Do not put things on the stairs where you might fall over them.

    As your baby gets more mobile you need to think ahead to what they can do and what they will learn to do. Your baby can move more quickly than you might think – do not leave them unattended even for a moment.

    As your baby starts to crawl, climb and walk, look around your home and other places you go – it is worth getting down to their level – see what might ‘tempt’ a busy baby to explore. Think about how falls might happen.

    • Use stair gates.
    • Fix any heavy furniture that could be pulled over or climbed on to the wall.
    • Move things from the cot or bed that your child could use to climb up on.
    • Move furniture from under windows that your child could use to climb up on.
    • Use window locks.

    Young children have little sense of danger and will need you close by to keep them safe. As your child grows they will still not always assess falls risks for themselves. Make sure they use safety equipment like;

    • Safety sides on trampolines
    • Helmets elbow and knee pads when using bikes and scooters.
  • There are a lot of everyday products we use in our home that are dangerous to children if they swallow them and / or spill them on themselves.

    It is important that medicines, cleaning products and other harmful products are kept safely out of children’s reach.

    Products that we use every day like washing capsules, dishwasher tablets are really dangerous if a child puts them in their mouth.

    • Keep all medicines, cleaning and washing products out of children’s reach. Choose a high cupboard, ideally one you can lock.
    • Keep products in their original packs. If your child should swallow some the hospital will want to see the packet.
    • As your child gets older teach them about poisons and never drinking or putting something they are not sure about in their mouths.

    Some plants, flowers and trees are poisonous to children too. You will nee to be extra careful when your child is still at the ‘putting things in their mouth stage’.

    As your child grows talk to them about not playing with or ‘tasting’ things that they do not know for certain are safe.

  • In recent years the use of button batteries has increased. They are widely used in toys and gadgets. They are small and can be easily picked up by little ones and swallowed. When this happens if children are not treated very quickly by emergency doctors they can cause serious harm and even death.

    Because they are so dangerous it is important to know where they are used in your home. Items using button batteries and any spares should be stored safely and out of children’s reach.

    Some toys use button batteries. If a toy has batteries they should be safely secured needing a screwdriver to open the compartment. You should check that this is firmly in place regularly. *Click Here* to find out more about keeping children safe from harm caused by batteries.

  • No one wants to think that they might have to use life saving skills on a baby. But knowing what you would need to do in an emergency can make you feel a bit less worried about it. It is an important skill for everyone. You are learning this to protect your own baby but it could be you who knows what to do to help someone else, some time in the future.

    Watch the video below and get others in your family to do the same.

  • Children can choke on things they put in their mouth or things than can become tangled around their necks. One child in the UK dies each month by choking. Removing possible choking hazards in you home and out and about is important.

    • Keep small objects out of reach – like coins, button batteries, screws, hair grips.
    • Make sure children sit down to eat and drink.
    • Be careful with small round food like grapes and cherry tomatoes. Chop into small pieces for children under 4.
    • Hard round foods like nuts and popcorn should not be given to small children.
    • All cords and ties should be kept away from children. Blind cords must be fixed to the wall and out of reach.

    No one wants to think that they might have to use life saving skills on a small child. But knowing what you would need to do in an emergency can make you feel a bit less worried about it. It is an important skill for everyone. You are learning this to protect your own child but it could be you who knows what to do to help someone else, some time in the future.

    Watch the video below and get others in your family to do the same.

  • Many families have pets and this can help teach children kindness and develop their social skills. Children like to kiss and cuddle and get close to animals but this is not how animals show love they may find it frightening and bite or scratch.

    Remember that however gentle and well trained your pet might be they still rely on their animal instincts. They can react in unexpected ways when they are frightened or stressed. This can make animals like dogs dangerous. Children have been badly injured and even killed by family pets.

    Never leave small children and pets unattended together – even for the shortest time. Even if they seem to have got used to each other there is a risk.

    *Click Here* for information on introducing dogs to babies.

    • Make sure your pet always has a place to go to get away from everyone when they need it.
    • Teach your child from a young age that they must leave their pet alone when it goes there and when it is asleep.
    • Always feed pets like dogs away from children – animals will defend their food.
    • Teach your child never to go up to animals they do not know.

    Hygiene is especially important when you have pets.

    • Wash your hands and your child’s hands well every time you touch a pet and always before eating.
    • Clean up any animal poo straight away and wash your hands carefully. It can harm people; especially children and pregnant women.
    • Wash animal bedding regularly.

    Make sure your dog is treated for fleas and worms as required – discuss this with your vet. *Click Here* to find a local vet.

Who Can Help?

If you are not sure whether your child is unwell or needs medical attention call 111 or your GP for advice. Remember that you know your child best: if you think your child is seriously unwell act fastCall 999 for an ambulance or go to your nearest A&E department.

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 


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