Preventing Accidents

Parents not acting on instincts to prevent child accidents

The following article was sent to the Webmag to mark Child Safety Week, which ran from 23 – 29 June 2008. As safety is a theme which runs through several of our articles this month, we are including this piece, which gives the results of a recent survey.

A survey by the Child Accident Prevention Trust of over 1,000 parents and grandparents of under fives reveals that whilst most parents have a good understanding about how to prevent accidents and keep their children safe, this is often not being acted upon.

Burns and scalds

Although 90 per cent of parents and grandparents recognise that hot drinks are a danger to small children, half of those caring for children under five don’t realise that a cup of tea or coffee can still scald a baby 15 minutes after it’s been made1. (Fact: Over 500 under fives are rushed to casualty every week because of burns and scalds. Hot drinks are the number one cause.2)


Although 86 per cent of those surveyed know that everyday painkillers are a danger for children, over a quarter of those caring for under fives admit to keeping them in a handbag, where children can potentially find them. (Fact: Around 20 children are admitted to hospital every day because they are thought to have swallowed something poisonous – and under fives are at greatest risk.3)

Stair gates

87 per cent of parents and grandparents believe it’s dangerous not to have safety gates on the stairs. But one in four of those caring for a crawling baby or toddler don’t have a safety gate on their stairs. (Fact: Almost 800 under fives are rushed to casualty every week after falling down stairs or steps at home.4)


Over a quarter of parents and grandparents don’t have restrictive opening devices on large windows. But 86 per cent know that open windows upstairs pose a real risk to young children. (Fact: Almost 2,000 under fives are rushed to casualty every year after falling from buildings5. Last year, seven under fives died this way.6)

Accidents kill

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, says,

“Accidents are the second biggest killer of children in the UK. Six children die every week7 and over 2,000 are admitted to hospital8. Most families are well aware of the dangers to children, but an alarming number don’t put their knowledge into practice.

“It’s not about blame. We know it’s hard when you’re busy caring for a family. And it’s easy to think that a serious accident won’t happen to your child. But taking a few simple safety precautions can make a real difference to their safety.

“Our theme for Child Safety Week is Make a change. Make a difference. We’re asking parents and grandparents to think about their everyday behaviour and routines, and see what they can change to make their children safer both at home and while out and about. Every year thousands of children are killed or injured on the roads too, as pedestrians, cyclists and in cars9.”

Small changes work : “Think kid”.

Children’s Minister Kevin Brennan MP, says, “Home is where the heart is, but for young children it’s also where the danger is. We want parents to have all the information and support they need to keep their children safe. That is why we are working with the Child Accident Prevention Trust and will spend £18 million over the next three years to provide home safety equipment to parents who need our help the most. With children from poorer families statistically far more likely to have an accident, our aim is to help parents take the right steps and prevent the risk becoming a reality.

“The first step for all parents is to look at the home from a child’s viewpoint, to identify potential hazards and then make small changes to make it safer. Our campaign will give parents more information on how to do that and how to access good home safety schemes in their area. So my message is look at your home and ‘think kid’ to keep your children safe.”

To find out more about child safety, including advice and information on how to make your home safe, visit or or contact your local Sure Start Children’s Centre.

1 thought on “Preventing Accidents”

  1. UK is a safe place to live in and statistics show that crime against young children by strangers here is less. Even then, as the wise old saying goes,


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