Friday, 26 February 2010

Safety In The Garage

The garage can be a potentially dangerous place, particually if you have small children, as well as having to manoeuvre a vehicle in and out of a confined space you have to be aware of other peoples movements as well. In addition the garage is usually the storage place for all sorts of dangerous tools, substances etc.which tend to be stored in the garage so that they are out of the "normal" living area. Items such as power tools, heavy hammers, blades, garden pesticides, paint thinners are all commonly found in garages and any one of them could prove extremely dangerous to adults but especially children.

With regard to safety in garages two golden rules seem to emerge, the first is do not leave children alone in the garage, be aware of where they are and what they are doing. The second rule is to keep the garage tidy by following the tips below :-

- keep the garage floor clean and free from obstructions, any spillages need to be cleaned up straight away, this should minmise the risk of slipping or tripping.

- power tools should not be left plugged in, but should be stored away in a locker or cupboard (locked if possible)

- any articles considered of no further use should be disposed of accordingly

- shelves should not be overloaded

- if childrens items are kept in the garage (eg. bicycles)they should be kept where they can be easily accessed

- always keep substances in their original containers, for example do not keep pesticides in an old lemonade bottle.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Oil/Fat Fires

This is one of the most common kitchen accidents, by far the biggest culprit in this type of accident is the "chip pan" fire which accounts for one fifth of all domestic fires. To reduce the risk of a fire developing you should follow these tips :-

- never fill a chip pan more than one third full of oil

- never leave a chip pan unattended

- always dry food before putting it in the hot oil (water can make the oil explode)

- test the temperature of the oil by dropping a small amount of food in to it

Should a fire develop then you should do the following :-

- call the fire service straight away

- do not take any risks

- only tackle the fire if it is safe to do so

- make sure you have a clear escape route

- do not try and remove the pan

- turn off the heat - but only if safe to do so

- try to cover the pan with a dampened tea towel

- never use water on chip pans as it will cause a fireball

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Accidents in the kitchen

Many accidents occur in the kitchen, this should not come as a surprise when you consider the mix of electricity, gas, water, sharp utensils, chemical cleaning products and the numerous appliances all in a fairly confined area. So what can be done to minimise the chances of accidents occuring in the kitchen, below are a few ideas.

- put cleaning materials out of the reach of children (consider using cabinet locks)

- to prevent slipping ensure that floors are not left wet and any liquid spilt is wiped up straight away

- always use kitchen steps to reach items in high places

- keep knives out of the reach of children and to avoid cuts store sharp knives in a knife holder

- keep electrical leads away from the sink and cooker areas

- always turn pan handles inwards to prevent a child from pulling them over, but do not put the handle over a heat source

- it may be wise to tie back long hair and not wear loose fitting sleeves when cooking in the kitchen.

- make sure you understand how equipment works before using it

- before cleaning equipment make sure it is unplugged

One type of kitchen accident is responsible for one fifth of domestic fires and injures 4,000 people each year, that is when oil/fat in a pan catches fire, in the next blog we will look at what to do if you are confronted by such a fire and what can be done to prevent it from happening.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Accidents Caused By Electricity

From an accident prevention point of view electricity is a problem, you can't see hear or smell it, which does make things difficult when trying to educate the young about the dangers. Most adults understand the dangers of electricity whilst children, especially small children, do not understand just how lethal electricity can be and how their actions could put them in danger.

Many of the appliances around the home use electricity so it is important to understand the dangers and develop good habits to minimise the chances of an accident. Below are some tips which could help :-

- cover all electrical outlets with plug socket guards when not in use

- don't overburden an electrical outlet

- don't run leads under carpets

- routinely check cables and appliances for damage

- if your not a qualified electrician don't mess with electricity

- don't use light bulbs that have the wrong wattage for the fixture

- place appliances and cables out of the reach of children or try and hide cables behind heavy pieces of furniture

- keep water away from electrical appliances (no vase of flowers on the tv !!)

- turn off and unplug any unused appliances

- take extra care with electric blankets (they cause over 5,000 fires each year)if you use one make sure it has the British Standard Kitemark

- never throw water on an electric fire

Monday, 28 December 2009


Each year around 27,000 children receive hospital treatment for either poisoning or suspected poisoning. The usual cause of the poisoning is that they have swallowed either medicines or household products, but another extremely dangerous hazard is carbon monoxide poisoning which is very difficult to detect as it has no smell, taste or colour. So what can be done to prevent these accidents since medicines and household products can be found in most homes.

- keep medicines and chemicals out of reach and sight of children.

- if possible they should be kept in a locked cupboard.

- try and buy goods that are in child resistant containers.

- remember that although the containers may be child resistant they may only delay a child from opening the container, they cannot be relied upon 100% to keep a child out.

- always store medicines and chemicals in their original containers.

- always get rid of unwanted medicines and chemicals.

- don't leave medicines lying around in places where a child can get them eg. bedside tables.

- talk to children and make them aware of the dangers, tell them that those brightly coloured tablets are not sweets.

- be aware of how safe other people's homes are if your child visits.

- consider buying a carbon monoxide alarm to protect not just your children but the whole family.

- ensure your heating systems are regually serviced by a qualified engineer.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Thinking of buying a dog as a Christmas present ?

Over the last few weeks there has been much publicity over the latest attack by a dog on a young boy, whilst the dog responsible for this attack was one bred for aggression people are beginning to question whether dogs should be kept in households where there are children. Many people choose pets as Christmas presents and perhaps the most popular pet given as a present is a puppy/dog.

If there are young children in the household then what can be done to minimise any risk of attack (at this point it must be stated that attacks are relatively few)-

- when you buy the dog ensure that it has no history of aggressive behaviour.
- check that it has no history of not getting on with children
- if it's a puppy you need to consider how you are going to train it, not just the normal house training but how you are going to get both the puppy and the children used to each other.
- consider the breed of dog, some breeds are more friendly towards children for example the labrador retriever is considered one of the best breeds with childern as it is good natured, playful and non aggressive.
-children need to be shown how to behave around a dog, they must be taught that it is not a toy.

Dogs like most other pets can teach children an awful lot and can play an important part in their development, pets can be a loyal friend to a child and also teach them about responsibility in looking after them.

Tips to help if you are confronted by a dangerous dog

- avoid eye contact with the dog.
- do not turn your back on the dog.
- never run from a dog
- move away slowly with no sudden movements
- act in a friendly confident manner

Friday, 4 December 2009


As we are rapidly approaching Christmas it seems appropriate to look at the number and type of accident that children have with toys and more importantly what adults need to consider when buying toys.

Each year over 30,000 children attend hospital due to toy related accidents, examples of the type of problems are 5,000 injuries due to falls from items such as rocking horses, swings etc. Then there are 4,000 injuries due to problems relating to the small parts in some toys, injuries from toys that fire objects such as guns, catapults etc. total about 1,000. On top of this there are many injuries caused simply by leaving toys lying around especially near stairs, this can cause injuries to both children and adults.

So what does an adult need to consider when buying a toy

- well perhaps the most important rule is to chose the right toy for the age of the child.
- many toys have suggestions about the age of the child printed on the packaging to help potential buyers.
- as a general rule it is not wise to buy a toy which has small removeable parts for very young children,for example toys that include buttons or beads, which could easily be put in a childs mouth.
- be aware of toys with moveable parts as small fingers could be easily trapped.
- be aware of the coatings applied to the toy, paints and varnishes could be toxic and cause illness if a child chewed the toy.
- will the toy bear the childs weight.
- does the toy have a strap or cord that could be a strangulation hazard.
- if possible look for toys that have the lion mark on the packaging as it shows that they have been made to the highest standard.