GUEST COLUMN: Top tips to keep kids safe this Christmas, by Chris Kenny, director of public health for Nottinghamshire

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At home, on the road, at school – children are always at risk of harm from accidents.

Accidental injury is one of the biggest killers of children in the UK. It is second only to cancer.

Childhood accidents cost the NHS over £275 m a year. Children who survive serious accidents are often left with long term physical and emotional problems.

However, I am not suggesting we wrap children in cotton wool. Scrapes and bruises are part of growing up. But I don’t think children should die, or be disabled or disfigured, in accidents that can be prevented. In order to keep safe over the festive period I would encourage everyone to think safe with the following tips:

Use safety devices: your child is less likely to be injured if you use smoke alarms, safety gates and cupboard locks.

Anticipate the way your child behaves and develops: they will roll, crawl, walk, climb and run; put things in their mouths and be attracted by bright colours. Keep one step ahead by making sure dangers are out of reach.

Preventing Falls: Change nappies on the floor. Don’t put car seats and bouncing seats on raised surfaces.

Don’t leave your baby unattended on a raised surface, e.g. a bed, as they may roll off.

Use safety gates to prevent falls down stairs.

Preven poisoning: Store medicines and household chemicals at or above your eye level, ideally in locked cupboards and always put them away straight after use.

Preventing scalds and burns: Keep hot drinks out of reach and don’t pass them over babies or young children – they can scald children up to 15 minutes after they are made. Fit a thermostatic mixing valve to prevent bath water scalds. Teach your child not to climb in the kitchen, and not to touch the cooker or hot objects.

A trip to the emergency department is not my idea of fun, so let’s all think safe over the Christmas and new year period and have a great time with family and friends.