Accidents are one of the biggest child killers in the UK, with five children and young people dying every week. This is four times as many children as are killed by family abuse or neglect, and 12 times as many children as are killed by strangers. Accidents also put more children in hospital than any other cause. Every week, more than 2,000 children and young people are admitted to hospital because of their injuries. Many are left scarred for life or permanently disabled.
Children from less well-off families are particularly vulnerable – they are far more likely to be killed or admitted to hospital with serious injuries than their better-off counterparts. However, many of these deaths and serious injuries can be prevented – and without wrapping children up in cotton wool. Child Safety Week, which ran this year from the 22nd to the 28th of June was designed to raise awareness of child safety and help people understand the real risks to children whilst showing the simple changes they can make to reduce those risks so that children can enjoy safer, healthier, more active lives.
Child Safety Week generates substantial media coverage for practical safety advice and – by providing free resources to community-based staff and organisations – acts as a catalyst for thousands of local safety activities and events, which reach millions of children and families UK-wide. It also opens doors to local partnership working, encouraging organisations to work together for child accident prevention.
The theme for Child Safety Week 2009 was ‘Safer together’. Parents, teachers, childminders and individuals working in a role that involves caring for children, all doing something simple such as a talk for children about being safer when they are out and about, and organising a local event with fire safety officers‘ demonstrations of accident prevention – every little bit helps. In the weeks leading up to the launch, all the news, updates, latest resources, research, quizzes and competitions that help make Child Safety Week a success are available on the official website- www.capt.org.uk.
Whether you were planning an event or not, you could still make a huge difference to the level of safety in which your children live by making simple changes at home. Taking a sensible approach to daily activities should be your first step- for instance, remember to keep hot drinks or saucepans out of your children’s reach. You should also take a look around your home for any potential hazards in your décor- slippery surfaces such as tiles or polished wood could easily cause children to have an accident whilst running about.
Such surfaces could be made much safer if covered with a cheap rug kept in place with double-sided tape. You might also want to look out for buttons that could easily be swallowed on items like cushions and duvet covers. Simple steps such as these don’t cost much but will ensure your home is a safe and fun environment for your children to play and grow.