Would you know what to do if your child had an accident in the home or out and about? The answer is probably yes, but doing a First Aid course often doesn’t get prioritised. Our new feature writer Katherine Whitby, will be regularly sharing her top tips on Child Safety and First Aid and managing childhood illness. Katherine is a Paediatric Nurse, Health Visitor, Mummy of two and Founder of Baby Steps, which aims to give parents and carers the confidence and reassurance to manage emergencies big and small.
How safe is your home?
As babies become more mobile it is inevitable they will experience some bumps and bruises. As parents we tread a difficult line in preventing accidents but understand that they must learn about their world through exploration. Babies are on one big adventure and don’t know what they can play with or eat. With small children of my own, I know the challenges of home safety all too well! My 10 month old little boy has me on my toes everyday. So what is the answer? Well, here are some of my tips for pragmatic things that we can all do to protect the health and safety of our children.
Preventing Childhood Accidents
It is vital that as much as possible you ‘baby proof’ your home. Not only to avoid preventable accidents, but also to reduce your stress levels, as you can’t have eyes in the back of your head. Each child reaches developmental milestones at a different pace. So much happens in terms of their mobility in such a short space or time – sitting, crawling, walking and climbing. So much fun but exhausting try to work out the potential hazards, so be prepared.
Right through into toddlerhood everything goes into the mouth – they discover their world through, touch but also taste, smell and chewing. Learning the techniques to manage a choking child will offer invaluable reassurance.
Have a look at the safety equipment available and decide what is most appropriate for your home. Try and be one step ahead, such a fitting stair gates just before they are crawling to prevent being caught out! Useful websites for home safety equipment are Clipsafe and Lindam.
The Child Accident Prevention website gives fantastic advice on how to make your home safer and tips for different ages and stages.
What to Beware of…
The Child Accident Prevention Trust reports the most common accidents are:
- Be prepared with stair gates at the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Use corner cushions for tables – one of the most common cause of head injuries
- Never leave your child unattended when changing them, they will catch you out! We even commonly see newborns in A&E who have rolled off a changing mat – they surprise you all the time! The safest place to change your baby is on the floor. Before long it will be the only place as they will be rolling and turning so much!
- Keep hot drinks out of reach – a hazard at any age from drinking coffee while cradling a newborn to toddlers reaching up to tables and grabbing drinks or soup
- Bath water is the second most common cause of burns – check the bathwater temperature with your ELBOW, not thermometers, as they might not be accurate and a babies skin can be 15 times thinner than an adult
- Consider the many risks in your kitchen & bathroom
- The fastest growing cause of burns in the UK is hair straighteners. Babies love to chew the flexes, while older children like to copy Mummy.
- Look at your home at a very low level for potential hazards – easiest way is to get down on your knees to check
- Use drawer locks
- You might need to move things that have always lived in a certain place out of reach
- Do you keep coins in eye view?
- Are there any buttons lying around?
- Food is the most common cause of choking, so don’t leave you child unattended while eating, but also be wary of older little friends who might kindly try and share food which is not appropriate for your child’s age, posing a choking risk.
Lock away or put out of reach:
- Medicines – especially when visiting family who may have medications lying around or in view
- Cleaning products – do you keep them under the sink?
- Garden chemicals
- Essential oils
- Full supervision required in the bath, near ponds and swimming pools, especially on holiday when your guard may be down or the area may not be so suitable for children.
Build up your First Aid Kit
Essential items for your First Aid Kit are:
- Plasters – child friendly ones can help to alleviate the tears, e.g. Mr Bump!
- Sterile Gauze and dressings
- Adhesive Tape
- Disposable instant cold packs or a child friendly one can help with co-operation e.g. Peppa Pig!
About the author: Katherine Whitby is the owner of Baby Steps, which offers relaxed and friendly courses in the comfort of home or at handpicked venues. The team, of experienced nurses are passionate about teaching CPR and choking techniques, accident prevention, first aid and managing childhood illnesses. The courses include lots of chances to ask questions and are the perfect opportunity to learn vitals techniques and tips galore in a social way! Babies are always welcome.
Photo Credit: Joe Shlabotnik