Friday, 18 September 2009

Each year around 1 million children attend casualty departments up and down the country due to accidents in and around the home, in 2005 75 children under the age of 15 died in home accidents with 49 of those under the age of 5.

The most common types of accident are :-

- injuries from falling

- removal of foreign bodies which have been swallowed or inhaled

- suspected poisoning from items such as household cleaners, medicines etc.

- burns and scalds

In each blog we will look at specific areas which can lead to accidents, look at what can be done to reduce the risk of accidents happening and highlight any safety products which could offer a solution to the problem.

The first issue we are looking at is the danger caused by water, or perhaps more accurately the fascination that small children have with water. In the ten year period to 2005 147 children drowned, with about 50% of those outdoor in garden ponds and other water containers and the other 50% in swimming pools and baths.

Please keep in mind that children can drown in as little as 3cm of water, so what can be done to reduce the risk of an accident :-

- never leave a child on it's own in the bathroom (as well as the danger a bath full of water poses there could also be cleaning materials in there, but we will cover that later). A safety gate (look for a gate to British Standard 4125) across the bathroom door could prevent a small child getting access to the bathroom.

- ensure that containers full of water are not left around the house, buckets or bowls full of water should be emptied straight away and never left where a child could get them.

- children should never be left unattended with a paddling pool filled with water and when you have finished with it the paddling pool should be emptied and put away, do not leave it with water in it as the child may return later.

- garden ponds hold a special fascination for children as they usually contain fish, attract frogs etc., however the ideal solution when small children are around is not to have water in the pond. If you do use the pond then some type of robust protective covering needs to cover the whole area of the pond so that a small child cannot get through or under the covering and it is strong enough to prevent the child climbing on it and it falling into the water.

- ensure that other external water containers are emptied regularly, should there be water stored in any containers then lids need to be firmly attached to prevent a child falling in and if possible they should be raised from the ground with nothing around them for a child to climb to gain access.

- swimming pools whether inside or outside the home pose problems in terms of reducing the risk of accident, access to the area of the swimming pool could be restricted, but the best way of reducing risk is to ensure that if children are around the swimming pool they are supervised at all times.

After looking at the items above you may feel that you have covered most of the issues raised, but please be vigilant should your child be invited to other premises to play or attend a party, make sure you are comfortable with your childs safety.

If anyone knows of any additional tips regarding the dangers water poses to children, or of any products that can help reduce the risk, please contact me and I will include them on my blog.

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