Children need to explore in order to learn about the things around them, but every year about 600,000 children under five, go to hospital because of an accident in the home.

The safer you make your home, the less likely it is that their exploration will land them in hospital. Outside your home it’s not so easy to make sure that the world is a safe place, but by getting together with other parents you can make a difference.

You can put pressure on your local council as follows:
· To make road crossings safer;
· To mend stairs and walkways and improve lighting;
· To clear rubbish tips and board up old buildings.

Protect and teach
· Under-threes can’t be expected to understand or remember safety advice. They need to have an adult nearby at all times.
· Three-year-olds can start learning how to do things safely, but expect your child to forget if she or he is excited or distracted.
· Eight-year-olds can usually remember and act on safety instructions, though they are not yet safe enough to cross a busy road alone. They need adults around to call on for help at all times.
· Under eleven-year-olds children are unable to judge speed and distance, so they should never cross busy roads alone. From the age of eight or nine children could cross quiet roads alone but they must wait until there are no cars at all. They should know and understand the Green Cross Code.

health & safety

Safety Checklist

Use this list to check whether you’re doing everything you can to prevent accidents. It’s impossible to list all dangers, but thinking about some of these should start you thinking about others. Tick off the things you’ve done.

Danger – choking and suffocation
Do you store small objects away from babies and small children who might put them in their mouths?
Have you got rid of ribbons and strings that might, either in play or by accident, get wound around a child’s neck?
Do you keep peanuts away from children in your house? They often cause choking.
Do you store polythene bags out of children’s reach?

Danger – fires, burns and scalds
Have you fitted a smoke detector?
Have you checked your smoke detector battery this week?
Could you get out of your house in a fire?
Have you shortened your kettle flex or bought a coiled flex? Dangling flexes from irons and kettles can be pulled.
Do you have a fire guard, fixed to the wall, round any kind of open fire (coal, gas or electric) or a hot stove?
Do you always use the back rings on the cooker and turn pan handles away from the front of a cooker? A flat work surface on either side of the cooker will prevent your child reaching pan handles at the side of the cooker. Or you could fit a cooker hob guard.
Do you use a playpen, cot or high chair (with restraints) to keep your child safe while you cook?
Do you keep your child away when you’re drinking or carrying hot drinks and put mugs and cups, coffee jugs and teapots out of reach?
Have you put your tablecloths away? A child pulling at the edges can bring a hot drink or teapot down.
Do you always run the cold tap first in the bath and test the temperature before your child gets in? Be especially careful once your child is big enough to get into the bath without help and can play with the taps.
Have you turned down the hot water thermostat to 54ºC or 130ºF to avoid scalds?
Do you always cover hot water bottles to prevent burns and remove them from the bed before your child gets in?