24|7 Home Rescue are proud to support the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) this week during the charity’s third annual Family Safety Week. Each day, we’ll be bringing you tips and advice on how to help your little one’s stay safe and how to prevent falls, trips and slips at home.
Annually, 44% of all children’s accidents are from falling making them the most common whilst 35,000 children under the age of four fall down the stairs each year. Shockingly, an average of around 10 children die each year from falling through either a window or balcony and 3000 injuries are caused by tripping over toys or piles of laundry left on the floor.
Many of the household accidents that occur each year happen in the lounge or living room however many of the most serious falls involve falling between two levels such as a bed or highchair.
RoSPA’s Sheila Merrill, the charity’s public health advisor, has been taking part in a live-tweeting session on behalf of Family Safety Week answering the public’s questions on trips and falls in the home specifically aimed at protecting under 5’s.
— RoSPA (@RoSPA) March 8, 2016
So what action can we take to ensure that we can prevent falls in the home?
For very young children and babies, it’s essential to keep an eye on them at all times. The biggest concern for a baby is that it may roll off a surface such as sofa or bed. Don’t leave them unattended at any times and ensure they can’t roll off their changing surface.
Lay down some protective material on to the floor and use this as your baby’s changing surface so as to keep the risk of accidents to a minimum.
If you’ve got a bouncing cradle then place it in a safe place away from worktops or tables to ensure it does not bounce off the edge. Bouncing babies are surprisingly strong and they could bounce right off the edge of a table if you’re not careful!
Having toddlers can be tricky at the best of times, so toddlers that are learning to walk are at particular risk of falls and knocks. Although it’s likely they will fall over whilst learning to walk, more serious injuries can be avoided by following some simple steps:
Keep chairs and other climbing objects away from windows and balconies to reduce the risk of your child falling out accidentally. Toddlers are inquisitive and so will want to explore once they’ve found their feet – keep your eye on any climbing surfaces they find!
Fit restrictors to windows to prevent your toddler from opening them and falling out. Restrictors are a neat and practical solution to minimise the risk of a serious accident and can be bought inexpensively from a range of hardware stores however ensure an adult will be able to open the window easily in case of an emergency.
Make sure your floor space is clean and tidy. Cable ties are an ideal way of ensuring loose cables are tidied away which can prevent your little one falling over. Tying away your cables can also stop your child from chewing on them! Don’t leave anything lying around, such as the weekly laundry, as children can easily fall and trip.
Secure any items of furniture or kitchen appliances to prevent it falling on a child if they are beginning to climb. The most serious accidents can happen when a toddler pulls away a piece of furniture including drawers or even TV stands causing things to fall.
Be vigilant! Ensure you use appropriate safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs (make sure they have been approved by British Safety Standards), bed guards and strap them in when pushing them in a pushchair to avoid any nasty scrapes.
If you’d like information on how to prevent burns and scalds, please visit this article or for advice on preventing chocking please read our information guide here. To find out how to prevent poisoning at home, please take a look at our guide here.