Their thinner skin leaves them more vulnerable to serious burns, their smaller bodies are more susceptible to poisoning, while their larger heads often take the bulk of the impact from a serious fall.

It’s easy to say that supervision is key to keeping under-fives safe from accidental injury. But the competing priorities of our daily lives, especially at times when we’re under pressure, make this unrealistic. 

Sometimes child safety can feel like just one more thing to add to an already overloaded to-do list.

So what’s the answer?

Building child safety into your routines

We suggest trying to build child safety into your daily routines – whether that’s getting into the habit of putting hot drinks, hair straighteners, painkillers or cleaning products where small hands can’t reach them, running cold water into the bath before the hot or tying back your blind cords. 

Of course, it takes a conscious effort when you’re first changing your habits. But it won’t be long before you’re on safety autopilot.

Hidden dangers

Take a few minutes to find out about things in your home you don’t think of as dangerous but which can cause serious injury to small children. These include nappy sacks, blind cords, hair straighteners, hot drinks and bath water.

Hidden household poisons include the painkillers in your bag, detergent liquitabs and e-cigarettes. Their bright colours and squishy or shiny textures make them very attractive in the eyes of a toddler, but if they get into little hands, they can cause serious harm.

Child development

This natural curiosity is all part of how children learn about and make sense of their world. But toddlers are just starting to learn from experience and don’t really understand danger.

While, even if small children can repeat safety rules back to you, they still struggle to understand consequences.

This is why it’s so helpful to understand the links between children’s physical, emotional and cognitive development and the accidents they experience – so you can stay one step ahead.

While safety products don’t replace the need for adult supervision, they can provide a boon for time-poor parents and carers.

For example, when a baby learns to grab, roll, crawl or stand, it’s a real milestone – and one that, as parents, we look forward to. But these milestones can happen in a moment and often when you least expect them.

Up until then, your baby may have been safe next to the nappy sacks, and there would have been no risk of her falling from the changing table, stairs or highchair. Suddenly your home is a different place and it’s full of hazards.

Products can help

While safety products don’t replace the need for adult supervision, they can provide a boon for time-poor parents and carers.

They can include: heat-proof pouches for your hair straighteners, cleats for tying up blind cords, safety gates to stop falls on the stairs, and catches or locks to stop windows opening too wide. But do seek advice – for example, bath seats aren’t safety devices and can offer a false sense of reassurance.

In some cases, safety is built into products. Look out for window blinds that operate without the need for blind cords, and cleaning products and liquitabs with a bittering agent added to discourage small children from swallowing them.

More information

Turn to the Child Accident Prevention Trust for more information.

Visit the advice pages of our website for practical hints and tips, designed to help you build child safety into your busy life as a parent or carer.

And look out for local events during Child Safety Week.