Home » Patient safety » How to prevent accidents with children
Patient safety

How to prevent accidents with children

cycling boys under 13 teenagers
cycling boys under 13 teenagers

Here are 10 important messages for preventing child accidents.

  • 6 under-fives are admitted to hospital every day because they’ve been so badly burned. A hot drink can burn a young child even 15 minutes after it has been made, so put your baby down before you pick up yours and don’t pass hot drinks over children’s heads.
  • Hair straighteners stay hot enough to badly burn a baby or toddler 15 minutes after being unplugged. So lift yours off the floor or door handle and put them where they can’t be reached, in a heat-proof pouch.
  • A third of children and young people injured crossing the road admit they didn’t stop at the kerb and just as many said they didn’t look. So set a good example to your children and avoid dashing across the road or using your mobile while you cross. And remember that your car’s speed can make a huge difference to a child’s likelihood of survival if they step out in front of your car.
  • Every day 50 under-fives are admitted to hospital after a fall. Fit window lock so your windows won’t open too wide. Falling downstairs can damage your baby’s brain as well as their body so make sure you use safety gates on stairs.
  • Every day 13 under-fives are rushed into hospital because it’s thought they’ve swallowed something dangerous. Detergent liquitabs and concentrated detergents are really convenient but pose new risks to young children. If yours are under the sink, move them to a high cupboard or one with a lock, away from little hands.
  • Remember some 3-4 year olds can open child safety caps in seconds (‘child-resistant’ doesn’t mean ‘child-proof’). So keep medicines away from small hands too. Don’t forget the painkillers in your bag – painkillers are the most common cause of poisoning for small children!
  • At least 2 young children every year die after getting caught in a blind cord and being strangled. It takes seconds to tie yours back round a hook to keep loops out of reach of climbing children. Move children’s cots, beds and highchairs away from window blinds too.
  • In five seconds a toddler’s skin can be burned so badly by hot tap water that they need to go to hospital. So put the cold water in first and top up with hot, then test the water with your elbow, to reduce the risk of your child being burned.
  • Thick, black smoke from a fire can fill your home in minutes and kill your child in seconds. So get a smoke alarm fitted on every level of your home and test it regularly.
  • Toddlers can choke on food that’s too big, even just the size of a grape. Take a minute to cut their food up into small pieces.
Next article