Nottinghamshire County Council is reminding parents and carers of the simple things they can do to keep children safe and to help prevent unnecessary injuries as part of Child Safety Week 2014 (23-29 June).
In Nottinghamshire 43,204 children aged 0-5 years attended Accident and Emergency between 2009-2013 as a result of an accidental injury, and 2,396 were are admitted to hospital in the same period.
The most common causes of injuries for 0-5s in Notts are; falls (43%); bumping into/being struck/injured by things like furniture, glass, sports equipment (22%); poisoning (15%).
Four per cent of injuries to children aged 0-5 in Nottinghamshire were as a result of burns or scalds, (22 admitted to inpatients and 308 attended A&E). Whilst the numbers are relatively low the injuries caused and scarring can be life-long and require ongoing medical support.
The most common cause of burns in this age group is hot drinks or hair straighteners, and some of the most severe are as a result of bath water that is too hot.
Despite that, burns and scalds are also some of the most preventable of injuries.
Facts and tips to help avoid burns and scalds for small children:
• A cup of tea could be the most dangerous thing in your lounge. Any hot drink can scald a baby even 15 minutes after it’s been made. Put hot drinks out of reach of young children, and never pass hot food or drink over the head of toddlers or babies.
• Toddlers are naturally nosey they don’t understand the risk or danger that objects carry with them. Don’t underestimate how far a toddler or baby can reach.
• In the kitchen make sure the cooker hob, kettle or iron are at safe distances. Make sure that saucepans are kept with the handles turned away from the edge and use the back rings/burners.
• Hair straighteners can get as hot as an iron. Your child can be burned if they touch them – even if they’ve been unplugged for up to 15 minutes. Either put them out of reach after use or in a heat protection pouch, don’t leave them lying around or on the back of a door handle.
• Babies’ and toddlers’ skins are extra thin and sensitive to hot water, test the temperature of bath water with your elbow to make sure it’s safe for your baby, and always put in the cold water first topping up with hot as required.
• Make sure that any fires have child proof guards.
• In summer months take care if you’re having a bonfire or barbeque – remember that barbeques can stay hot long after food is cooked.
As part of Child Safety Week, and marking the one year anniversary of children’s centres in Nottinghamshire there is a cot relay which will be travelling throughout all 58 centres in Nottinghamshire with a child safety theme. Anyone attending one of the events can pick up some handy hints and tips on avoiding all kinds of injuries like falls, burns, poisonings and strangulation. For more information, visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/childsafetyweek14.
Councillor Joyce Bosnjak, Chair of the Nottinghamshire Health and Wellbeing Board said:
“Our busy A&E departments and hospitals see lots of avoidable injuries every day, some of which result in lasting damage to the child. In Nottinghamshire we have fewer admissions to hospital as a result of avoidable injuries than the national average, but there are still lots of things that we can do to make our homes safer for children.
“We all have busy lives, but it’s important to take an extra few seconds to be aware of our surroundings and identify potential risks. Younger children are naturally inquisitive and have no awareness of danger, making sure they cannot reach or access things which can result in an injury is really important – some forethought and common sense can alleviate a lot of risk.
“We have been consulting on a new draft strategy to help prevent avoidable injuries amongst children and young people, which the Health and Wellbeing Board will take forward. This will reduce the number of deaths and disabilities caused by avoidable injuries, as well as help alleviate pressures on the NHS.”
Sonya Clark, Public Health Manager for Nottinghamshire County Council said:
“It’s such a big issue – unintentional injuries are the biggest cause of inequalities, death and disability for children and young people. Lots of admissions and A&E attendances can be avoided by simple things like moving a cup of tea onto a shelf or putting a stair gate in and using it properly. It’s crazy when you think of the disability and heartache it causes.”
For more information about Child Safety Week, tips and advice on how to avoid injuries visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/childsafetyweek14 or www.childsafetyweek.org.uk.