It’s a weekday morning, you’re rushing round trying to get yourself and the kids out of the house somewhere near on time. Your toddler is still up in his room pawing through toys to pick out what to bring for show and tell; your daughter actually brushed her teeth—hurray!—but has raced back upstairs to find her recorder; your baby is down in the kitchen, bouncing in his high chair and watching the cereal he tosses overboard scatter on the floor; your partner is hogging the bathroom; you’re gulping coffee on the move trying to sort everyone out, last of all yourself. What could possibly go wrong?
A lot, as many of us know too well. It’s Child Safety Week, and this year’s theme is Morning Mayhem. According to the Child Accident Prevention Trust, who organise the week, a hot drink can scald a child 15 minutes after it’s been made—in fact it’s the main cause of such injuries among under 5s. Babies approaching movement milestones can surprise parents by pushing themselves up and tumbling from high chairs, a mishap that can cause head injuries or broken bones. Rushing up and down stairs and forgetting to close the safety gate can lead to serious falls for toddlers. Each day, around 45 toddlers are taken to hospital because of such accidents.
It all sounds like a recipe for disaster, but these risks can be mitigated with a bit of forethought and some good safety habits. Tips include:
• Put your hot drink well out of reach; don’t rely on your child to know not to touch.
• Turn pot handles in and cook on the back of the hob when possible; young children lack the reflex to pull away from something that is burning them.
• Make a habit of always strapping baby into the highchair as soon as she’s put in.
• Keep an eye on baby as she eats, since young children can choke easily.
• Change nappies on the floor; babies who’ve just learned to roll can roll right off the bed or changing table.
• Remember to close safety gates; if you have an older child, designate him the Safety Gate Monitor.
For more advice for parents, including common injuries and how to prevent them, visit the Child Safety Week website.
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