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We’re delighted to introduce our latest columnists, Thanet Children’s Centres!
Each article is designed to be of help our communities and will be written with the safety of you, your family and loved ones in mind. By raising awareness we all aim to reduce the number of avoidable visits to our A&E Departments and therefore reduce the strain on our hospitals. Simple steps can have a huge impact on the safety and well-being of those we care about. If you have any questions, please utilise the wonderful services our Children’s Centres provide and pop in. There are free daily activities, workshops and friendly staff on hand to answer your questions.
So without further ado…
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For most of us, our homes are where we feel safe. However, most accidents happen at home (more than anywhere else.) More than six thousand people die every year as a result of an accident at home, and more than two million children under the age of fifteen are injured in and around the home every year.
I’m sure, as parents, you can identify with how easily children can find a hazard in the house, before you’ve spotted it yourself! Here are some everyday hazards and the steps you can take to create a safe environment for your children:
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Hot drinks – be sure to keep hot drinks out of the reach of children. You’ll be surprised how far a child can stretch to get something if they want it! A hot drink stays hot enough to burn a child for 15 minutes.
Hair straighteners/curlers – a popular item in the home these days. Did you know you can actually cook an egg on a pair of straighteners? Don’t believe me? Watch the video here…
Keep hot appliances away from children, preferably up high, with wires out of the way. Teenagers in the house? Let them know too!
Fire – ensure you have a smoke alarm fitted, regularly check to see if it’s working. Did you know Kent Fire & Rescue will do a free fire safety check at your home? Prepare an escape plan and practice it with the children – make a fun game out of it!
999 – if your children are old enough, teach them to contact the emergency services in the event of an incident. You may be the one injured and unable to call for help. Can also be helpful to have a list of relative’s phone numbers they can ring in case of an emergency.
Medicines and chemicals – install a lock on cupboards holding medicines, cleaning products and chemicals. If you can put them in a high cupboard for extra safety.
To young children, the bright colours of cleaning products are very appealing. Products containing Bitrex make a product taste really bitter and less likely to be ingested by children.
Windows – where is your furniture in relation to your windows? It doesn’t take long for children to climb the sofa and hang out of a window, even if you think the sofa is a good window guard! Free the sofa from the responsibility and invest in window locks! If possible move furniture away from windows. Secure any blind cords or chains up and out of the way to prevent strangulation.
Garden – regularly check that your garden fences, walls and gates are secure and also that children can’t easily climb into neighbours gardens. If you have a pond fence it off and net it or fill it in until your children are older. Check your garden for poisonous plants and berries. Keep garden tools and chemicals out of reach and locked away.
Choking – children can choke on a range of items, with food being the most common. A choking baby may not always make a noise so make sure you watch them when eating and keep small objects out of reach. As children get older make sure they sit down when eating and are not running about.
Handbags – think about what you might have in your handbag that could be a hazard to children? Medicines can look like sweets or small items that can be choking hazard. Hang your handbag on a hook out of the way.
Falls – those of us with children know they see everything as a challenge!
Stairs? “Yep I’ll climb them!”
Sofa? “I’m sure if I try hard enough I can fling myself off the back!”
Highchair? “Hey mum why the straps – I got this!”
Do you get the picture? Falls are the most common cause of accidents at home, so make sure to follow simple steps to keep you and your family safe. Use straps on highchairs and pushchairs, invest in stair gates and be aware of your baby being able to use toys as an aid to get out of their cot! Pick up toys that are lying around… we’ve all felt the pain of Lego… but they could also cause us to fall over.
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Just take a few moments to have a quick check around your home tonight and see if there’s anything that you might need to put in place to keep your family safe.
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We’re here to help and support you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to pop into any of our 8 centres and ask.
Thank you for reading!