Did you know…?
- Accidents are one of the biggest single killers of children in the UK. More children die every year because of accidents than illnesses such as meningitis and leukaemia.
- Nearly half of all children who are taken to hospital after an accident, had their accident at home.
- Some safety equipment has been proven to save lives and reduce serious injury. This includes things like child car seats, smoke alarms and cycle helmets. Other things haven’t been tested to see if they prevent injuries but should still help to keep children safe.Safety equipment – how it can protect children from accidents
Safety gates and barriers. These stop babies and toddlers climbing stairs and falling down them. They are also very helpful for stopping children going into rooms where it’s dangerous for them to be, like the kitchen. You can use them until your child reaches two. When they are two or over they may be able to climb over them or open them.
Window locks or safety catches. They can stop the window from opening too wide and your child being able to climb out. Remember that older children will be able to open catches or locks. It’s good to keep keys for locks in a place that’s easy for adults reach in case there is a fire.
Five point harnesses. These are really important to use in highchairs and pushchairs to stop your child falling out.
Impact absorbing surfaces. These can help protect children from being seriously hurt in a fall from play equipment.
Anti-slip products. Stickers can be put on the floor or bath or you can use a bath mat.
Corner protectors. These can help to protect wobbly babies or toddlers from hurting themselves on sharp furniture when they fall. You can get lots of different types.
Nightlights. These can help make sure children don’t trip over or bump into things when they’re going to the toilet or other rooms in the night.
Smoke alarms. Having a working smoke alarm on each level of your home doubles your chances of getting you and your family out alive if a fire starts at night. They need to be checked every week to make sure they’re working properly.
Fire guards. You need one of these for any open fire or for any heater that gets really hot, to stop your child from falling into or touch hot surfaces or flames. Sturdy ones are best so that they wont move if your child falls on or pushes it. Fireguards need to be securely attached to the wall.
Fire extinguishers. You should call the fire and rescue service to put out fires. Fire and rescue services don’t recommend you use fire extinguishers if you are not trained to use them. If there is a fire, get everyone out of the house and then call 999.
Hot water safety
Thermostatic mixing valves. These help lower the temperature of the water that comes through your hot tap. This means it’s not so hot that it could burn your child immediately. Always check the temperature of the water first before putting your child in the bath.
Curly or short cords for kettles. These shortened cords can’t trail over the edge of worktops where they could be pulled by small children.
Safety glass. It’s a requirement by Building Regulations for all low level glass to be safety glass and glass in new furniture will almost always be safety glass. If you are replacing any low level glass make sure it’s replaced with safety glass.
Safety film. This helps to toughen glass and stop it from splintering if it’s broken. It can be put on your existing glass.
Safety locks or catches. These are ideal for doors, cupboards, fridges and dishwashers. They can stop little fingers getting into medicines, cleaning products and chemicals. They also make storing matches and lighters safer.
Child-resistant containers. Look out for these on medicines and cleaning things. But remember that they slow young children down but may not stop them completely from getting into things.
Bittering agents. Look out for products that contain bittering agents. They make household chemicals and products taste so horrible they prevent children swallowing them.
Playpens. Are useful for keeping young children in one place and out of harm’s way.
Door slam protectors. Help to stop little fingers from getting trapped. There are different types – some fit the latch side, some the hinge side and you can also get some for sliding doors.
Out and about
Child car and booster seats. For children under 12 years old and less than 135cm tall these must be used on every trip in the car. They are known to reduce the numbers of children seriously hurt in car accidents. You need to buy the correct seat for your child’s weight, height. They should be bought new. If you are given one by a family member or friend only use it if you’re very sure that it has never been in an accident, is complete, fits your car properly and you have the instructions with it.
Cycle helmets. These reduce the number of children’s head injuries by up to 85%. It’s good for your child to use one every time and no matter where they cycle.
Child-resistant gate latches. These are really important for stopping children getting out of the garden or play area onto roads or into next door’s pond.