How to keep young children safe at home

Many parents feel their children are safest when they’re at home. But accidents can happen anywhere, and every year in England 60 children under the age of five die from injuries in and around the home, says Public Health England (PHE).

Accidents at home also account for 450,000 visits to A&E and 40,000 emergency hospital admissions among under-fives in England every year, PHE claims. That’s why PHE experts have produced a new guide in association with the Child Accident Prevention Trust to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries in young children.

Written for people who work with children – such as health workers, child minders, play scheme and nursery school staff – it’s also a great read for parents who want to learn more about keeping their little ones safe at home.

The guide – entitled Preventing unintentional injuries – covers a range of accidents, including:

• Choking, suffocation and strangulation

• Falls

• Poisoning

• Burns and scalds

• Drowning

• Fire

• Roads

Each subject looks at the current figures for related accidents and injuries among children in England, and offers safety tips. For example, falls are the main cause of injury-related admissions to hospital for under-fives, with 20,000 children needing hospital treatment each year for a fall. Choking, suffocation and strangulation, on the other hand, is the leading cause of accidental death among the under-fives, with an average of 28 children in England dying each year.

Poisoning is the third most common cause of injury-related hospital admissions for the under-fives (4,000 a year), while the fourth is burns and scalds. Meanwhile, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death among the under-fives, and smoke, fire and flames kill four under-fives each year.

The guide offers too many safety tips to mention here, but here’s a quick selection:

• Always place your baby on their back to sleep with their feet at the bottom of the cot – don’t use a duvet, pillow or cut bumper.

• Use safety gates around the home until your child is two years old to help prevent stair falls.

• Fit cupboard locks where medicines and household chemicals are stored.

• Keep toddlers away from hot drinks, cookers, kettles, barbecues etc.

• Make sure babies are supervised 100 percent of the time when they’re in the bath.

• Fit working smoke alarms around your home and have a family fire escape plan.

• Deactivate the passenger air bag if you ever put your child in their child seat on the front seat of your vehicle.

You can read the entire guide online.

Your local Careway pharmacist can also give you lots of advice about what you should do if your child has an accident or injury, and can provide you with the essential items you need for a well-stocked family first aid kit. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.