Children's Safety

This flyer covers many aspects of keeping children of all ages safe. It includes guidance on pushchair safety, all you need to know about safe playtime and toys, bath time, blind cord safety, baby 'proofing', baby bling, and safety outdoors.

Toy safety

Play is not risk-free – and nor should it be – but we can control most of the hazards children are exposed to. Toys must be safe by law, but how they are used and the age of the child are important factors in preventing accidents.

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Playtime

The best way to make sure your child is safe is to play with them, so that you can teach them what is and isn't dangerous. Having said that, we know it's not practical to watch your child every single second of the day.

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Blind cord safety

To prevent blind cord accidents, the safest thing you can do is to fit a blind that is safe by design, which means that it does not have looped cords, and this is especially important in a child's bedroom.

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Bath time

For babies and young children, bath time is about more than just getting clean – it can be a chance to play or to unwind and relax before bed! However, as fun as bath time can be, sadly accidents still happen.

View more

'Baby proofing'

The truth is that ‘baby proofing' or ‘child proofing' our homes is a myth. No matter how hard we try, it is impossible to make every environment 100 per cent safe and children will always suffer a few bumps and scrapes along the way.

View more

Baby bling

"Baby Bling" refers to the latest craze of accessorising items such as dummies, clips and bottles with stuck-on beads, gems and other decorations to add a touch of "bling" to a baby's look.

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Outdoor safety

As a new parent, some of the very first decisions we are faced with is how to transport our child around safely. From car seats, to pushchairs to baby slings, there's a lot to get your head around.

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Pushchairs and buggies

Despite very high levels of safety, injuries have happened to children, caused primarily by faulty brakes, flammable materials, unstable carriages and finger entrapments in pushchairs.

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Toy safety

Play is not risk-free – and nor should it be – but we can control most of the hazards children are exposed to. Toys must be safe by law, but how they are used and the age of the child are important factors in preventing accidents.

Top 10 toy safety tips

  1. Buy toys only from reputable outlets – look for the CE symbol
  2. Make sure the toy is suitable for the child – check the age range
  3. Be particularly careful with toys for children under three
  4. Be wary of young children playing with older children’s toys
  5. Check for loose hair and small parts, sharp edges and points
  6. Ensure that garden swings and slides are robust and are not a strangulation hazard
  7. Check toys regularly for wear and repair or dispose of them where necessary
  8. Keep play areas tidy
  9. Follow the instructions and warnings provided with toys
  10. 10. Supervise young children at play

Play is not risk-free – and nor should it be – but we can control most of the hazards children are exposed to. Toys must be safe by law, but how they are used and the age of the child are important factors in preventing accidents.

Although toys are involved in more than 40,000 accidents each year1, their safety is only part of the problem. Many accidents involving toys occur when people trip over them and when babies play with toys intended for older children.

Toy safety advice

Although illegal, unsafe toys can still be found on sale, so it is vital to shop with care.

  • Look for the CE symbol.
    This is a claim by the manufacturer that the toy meets regulatory requirements. Products without the CE mark may not be intended to be used as toys, but are novelties which may not be safe for children to play with
  • Also look for the voluntary British Toy and Hobby Association’s (BTHA) ‘Lion Mark’.
    A condition of BTHA trade association membership is that members’ toys will meet the statutory safety requirements
  • Buy from suppliers with a good reputation for safe and reliable toys. Many will be members of trade associations whose rules call on them to meet high standards
  • If buying toys from a jumble sale or car boot sale, extra care needs to be taken
  • Make sure the toys are suitable. Some children, particularly those under three, are more vulnerable, especially to choking, and less able to cope with some toys than older children. It should also be remembered there will be significant differences in the abilities of those in the same age group, and those children with special needs.
  • Avoid the following:
    • Toys with loose pile fabric or hair which sheds easily, presenting a choking hazard
    • Toys with small components or parts which detach
    • Toys with sharp points and edges or finger traps
  • Loose ribbons on toys and long neck ties on children’s costumes
  • Small toys sold with items of food
  • Check toys periodically to see that they have not become dangerously worn, revealing sharp points and edges or filling materials. Throw them away if they are no longer safe, or if they are a particular favourite with your child have them properly repaired
  • Children under three should never be allowed to play with toys which are marked as being unsuitable for them. With some toys it is important to supervise children during play, e.g. chemistry sets. The instructions must be observed and should warn you about all the hazards and how to avoid or control them
  • Encourage children to play with one toy at a time, to be tidy and put toys away after play. This applies whether at home or at school or playgroup. Many accidents are caused by people tripping over toys left lying around, particularly on staircases.

Resources for safety professionals

Did you know?

Sales of toys are governed by strict regulations to protect young children from choking – but Christmas novelties are not and should not be given to children to play with.

Take a look at our information on Christmas novelties.

Battery safety

Many toys are battery-powered. Problems can occur, however, if the batteries are not used correctly, so follow our battery safety tips:

  • Always take care to fit batteries the right way around, observing the + and – marks on the battery and compartment
  • When replacing batteries, use the same type and always replace a complete set
  • Always remove spent batteries from toys and never dispose of them in such a way that they will come into contact with fire
  • Store unused batteries in their packaging and away from metal objects which may cause them to short circuit
  • Never charge ordinary batteries either in a charger or by applying heat to them
  • Small batteries, such as the small disc-shaped batteries used in some watches, electronic games and hearing aids, present a choking danger or, if not caught early, can do serious damage to the gastrointestinal system. Never leave them lying around and make sure that children know not to put them in their mouths, ears or up their noses. See our button batteries page for more information and advice
  • Young children should not charge batteries. If older children are allowed to remove or charge batteries, they must be carefully supervised by an adult at all times.

Toys and the law

The Toys (Safety) Regulations 20112 are made under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. They prescribe Essential Safety Requirements regarding general principles including design, construction and composition, and also particular risks.

Particular risks address the following hazards:

  • Physical and mechanical
  • Flammability
  • Chemical properties
  • Electrical properties
  • Hygiene
  • Radioactivity.

“Toy” is defined as “any product or material designed or clearly intended for use in play by children of less than 14 years of age” but does not include such items as children’s fashion jewellery or Christmas decorations.

Third parties, as well as the actual users of toys, must be protected against health hazards and physical injury when the toy is used as intended or in a foreseeable way, bearing in mind the normal behaviour of children.

This places a considerable responsibility on manufacturers to anticipate how their products will be used and to take action at the design stage to prevent injury being caused through foreseeable misuse.

The harmonised European Standard EN 713 provides the recognised interpretation of the legal requirements.

The law is enforced by Trading Standards Officers who are able to take immediate action. They can be contacted at any local unitary, county or London borough authority.

References

  1. Home Accident Surveillance System, 22nd Annual report. 1998 data. London: Department of Trade and Industry, 2000.
  2. Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011, London: The Stationery Office, 2011. SI 2011/1881
  3. EN 71: Safety of toys.

Content provided by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Published on Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:51:45 GMT
Modified on Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:18:33 GMT

Playtime

The best way to make sure your child is safe is to play with them, so that you can teach them what is and isn't dangerous. Having said that, we know it's not practical to watch your child every single second of the day.

Playing is one of the best ways for babies and children to discover the world around them.

However, unlike when they’re in the bathroom or kitchen, we’re sometimes less vigilant and assume our kids are safe when they’re playing quietly in other parts of the house.

The best way to make sure your child is safe is to play with them, so that you can teach them what is and isn’t dangerous. Having said that, we know it’s not practical to watch your child every single second of the day. That’s why it’s important to take some simple steps to make sure both your home and their toys are safe…

Around the house

For kids, houses aren’t just a place to eat and sleep – they’re magical adventure spaces just waiting to be explored. While playing at home is a great way for children to learn, some things could seriously hurt, or even kill them. Getting down on our knees so we can see things from a child’s height is a great way to spot dangers we might otherwise miss. Here’s a list of other things you might not have thought of:

  • Kids love running around, and in winter especially they are liable to get a touch of cabin fever! Keep your floors clear from obstacles, especially the stairs, so that your kids (or you) don’t trip over. For under-5s falls are by far the biggest accidental cause of A&E attendance and hospital admission, so making little changes could make a big difference. Rugs should be taped down to prevent them from slipping, trailing cables should be tucked away, and wet floors can be super slippy. Running in socks on a wooden floor can lead to a nasty fall!
  • While playing alongside your child is always the best way to keep them safe, it’s impossible to watch them every second of every day. A play pen can be a useful safe space for the times that your back is turned.
  • Make sure any medications, alcohol, cleaning products and any other chemicals are kept high up and out of reach – or even better, in a locked cupboard.
  • Little ones love to climb – make sure all heavy furniture such as bookcases and fireplaces are secured to the wall. Be extra aware of heavy flat-screen TVs too, as a number of children have been seriously hurt, or even killed, when they’ve pulled them down on top of themselves. Also remember that babies love to roll – never leave them alone on a high surface like a chair, sofa, or kitchen counter. Parents can get caught out thinking that their baby hasn’t yet mastered the art, but there’s always a first time!
  • Little fingers can be badly crushed in doors. You can use a door jammer to prevent them slamming shut – although an old towel thrown over the top of the door will work just as well.
  • Make sure your home is free from serious dangers that could hurt them while your back is turned. Fires should be guarded, hot drinks should be kept well out of reach and blind cords should be tied up and out of reach.
  • Put knives and other sharp objects away after use and store them out of sight and reach.
  • Electric socket covers aren’t necessary because modern UK sockets have in-built safety features. However, it’s always a good idea to put appliances out of reach of little fingers so they can’t plug them in.
  • Remember, 1-2 year olds are naturally very inquisitive – they like to taste everything! Be extra careful around things they can choke on, or around things that might make them sick, such as medicine, broken glass or dog poo.

Safe toys

While you might have checked out the obvious risks in your home – the oven, the bathroom, the medicine cabinet – what about those toys lurking in the playroom? Here are some things to look out for…

  • Toys should be checked regularly for signs of damage. Sharp edges, loose hair or fur, exposed wires or frayed material can all cause problems. Sharp points can be particularly dangerous, as they could hurt your child’s eyes.
  • It’s not just food that babies can choke on. Be aware of small parts they could potentially put in their mouths. If you have older children, think about their toys too. Make sure they are tidied away out of reach when they’ve finished playing so that younger ones don’t get hold of them.
  • Button batteries (or button cell batteries) are the small, flat, often silver batteries found in many children’s toys and even in musical birthday and Christmas cards. They’re especially dangerous to young children, who might be tempted to put them in their mouth and swallow them, potentially causing internal burns that could cause death in the most serious cases. Always make sure battery compartments on toys are locked and that little fingers can’t get to them. Store spare batteries as you would any dangerous chemical – out of sight and ideally locked away.
  • If you suspect your child has swallowed a battery, don’t let them eat or drink anything and don’t try to make them sick. Instead, go immediately to hospital, by ambulance if necessary. Remember, every second counts.
  • Generally speaking, toys are likely to be safer if they are bought from a recognised retailer, as opposed to a market, jumble sale, car boot sale or eBay.
  • Always check the label and packaging to make sure the toy is appropriate for your child’s age. What might be fun for an older child might not be suitable for a baby or toddler.
  • It’s also important to check for a CE mark (which confirms the product has been made to current European standards), or a bright red and yellow lion mark (which goes beyond a CE mark and means the British Toy & Hobby Association have classified it as safe). Remember: ‘novelties’ (which are often sold at Christmas) are not sold as toys and not made to the same standards.
  • Dressing up can be loads of fun, but take extra care at Halloween, Christmas, Birthdays and other times when there are naked flames around as children can be badly burned if their costumes catch fire.
  • When it comes to choosing costumes, buy from reputable stores, and again look for a CE mark to make sure it’s good quality, as well as generally making sure it’s in a good state of repair. Be aware of any loose ribbons, strings or ties that could get caught round your child’s neck.

Content provided by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Published on Fri, 20 Nov 2020 11:58:13 GMT
Modified on Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:18:52 GMT

Blind cord safety

To prevent blind cord accidents, the safest thing you can do is to fit a blind that is safe by design, which means that it does not have looped cords, and this is especially important in a child's bedroom.

Why are looped cords on blinds dangerous?

Blinds might look harmless enough, but to a young child the looped cords can be deadly if they get them caught around their neck.

Our research has shown that most accidental deaths involving blind cords happen in the bedroom and occur in children aged between 16 months and 36 months, with the majority (more than half) happening at around 23 months.

Toddlers are mobile but, compared to adults, their heads still weigh proportionately more than their bodies and their muscular control is not yet fully developed, which makes them more prone to being unable to free themselves if they become entangled.

In addition, toddlers’ windpipes have not yet fully developed and are smaller and less rigid than those of adults and older children. This means that they suffocate far more quickly if their necks are constricted.

As with drowning, toddlers can be strangled by looped cords quickly and quietly with carers in close proximity, potentially unaware of what’s happening.

How to make blind cords safe

To prevent blind cord accidents, the safest thing you can do is to fit a blind that is safe by design, which means that it does not have looped cords, and this is especially important in a child’s bedroom. A safety standard introduced in 2014 means that new blinds must be safe by design or be supplied with appropriate child safety devices installed. You can read more about this below.

If you already have blinds with looped cords in a child’s bedroom, we recommend that you remove them. If you have blinds with looped cords elsewhere in your home, we recommend that you remove them or, if you cannot do this, you tie up the cords with a safety device.

Here are our top tips for preventing accidents involving looped cords:

  • Install blinds that do not have a looped cord, particularly in a child’s bedroom
  • Cords on blinds (and also curtains) that are elsewhere in the home should be kept short and out of reach of children – tie up the cords or use one of the many cleats, cord tidies, clips or ties that are available
  • Do not place a child’s cot, bed, playpen or highchair near a window
  • Do not hang toys or objects that could be a hazard on a cot or bed
  • Do not hang drawstring bags where a small child could get their head through the loop of the drawstring.

We do not recommend that cords are cut, even as a short-term solution, because they could actually become more dangerous – one cord could become a lot longer than the other, increasing the risk of entanglement, and cut cords could also become tangled, resulting in the formation of a new loop.

What do the safety standards say?

Since 2004, RoSPA has been working with partners including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), CEN (the European Committee for Standardisation) and the British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) to raise awareness of blind cord safety through the Make it Safe campaign, and we have encouraged the blind industry to take voluntary action to make products safer.

We welcomed a major development in our campaign when an amended safety standard (EN13120:2009+A1:2014) was introduced in 2014, which required new blinds to be safe by design or be supplied with the appropriate child safety devices. This means that where there is a loop that is present, or could be created, a safety device must be installed at the point of manufacture. These safety devices either break under pressure, tension the cord or chain, or provide the facility to store the cord(s) out of reach. Professional installers must fit these devices. If you are fitting blinds yourself, you should follow the instructions supplied with the product and make sure you fit any safety device.

The amendment also extended the standard’s scope so it covers not only venetian blinds, roller blinds, vertical blinds and pleated blinds, but also honeycomb blinds, Roman shades, Austrian/Festoon blinds, panel blinds, plantation shutters and roll-up blinds.

The standard also imposes a maximum cord and chain length, and all blinds must carry safety warnings.

Manufacturers and retailers that do not comply with the standard could be prosecuted under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

Additional resources

*Reproduced with kind permission of the British Blind and Shutter Association © 2015

Content provided by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Published on Fri, 20 Nov 2020 12:04:55 GMT
Modified on Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:18:19 GMT

Bath time

For babies and young children, bath time is about more than just getting clean – it can be a chance to play or to unwind and relax before bed! However, as fun as bath time can be, sadly accidents still happen.

For babies and young children, bath time is about more than just getting clean – it can be a chance to play or to unwind and relax before bed!

However, as fun as bath time can be, sadly accidents still happen. That’s why it’s important we take some simple steps to make sure our little ones are safe in the tub…

Once your child is in the bath, it’s vital you watch over them. Tragically, children have drowned when their parent or carer has turned their back for a few seconds to grab a towel. It really can happen that quickly:

  • Always stay within arm’s reach of your little one when they’re in the bath. Wet soapy babies are slippy. If they slide down, or roll over, they can’t always right themselves, and you won’t always hear them trying. So even if the phone rings, or the doorbell goes, stay where you can see them.
  • Baby bath seats might look helpful, but by leaving your hands free they can provide a false sense of security. As babies can drown quickly, quietly, and in only a few centimetres of water, you’re better off without one – supervision really is key.

Running a bath

While most of us are aware of the importance of watching our children once they’re in the bath, it’s also important to keep an eye open while the bath is running. Not only can adventurous toddlers drown in less than three centimetres of water, babies and children are also at risk of being badly scalded – with potentially life-changing consequences.

  • Children’s skin is thinner than adults so they’re more at risk of scalds from hot water. When filling a bath, run cold water first and then add hot water afterwards.
  • Mix the water well to make sure there aren’t any hot spots which could scald your child.
  • As the temperature can change quickly put your little one in the bath only once you’ve finished running it and checked the temperature. (It’s true that you’re more likely to feel if it’s too hot if you use your elbow).
  • A thermostatic mixing valve (TMV) controls the temperature of water as it comes into the bath so that it’s hot enough to enjoy a good soak, but not hot enough to scald. If you don’t already have one, you might want to think about getting one fitted.

Your bathroom

While the presence of water is the most obvious threat to our children at bath time, our bathroom itself can contain a number of nasty surprises….

  • Energetic toddlers and wet, slippy baths don’t go well together! A non-slip bath mat, or stickers, can help avoid a nasty fall.
  • Remember, when it comes to dangerous medicines, cosmetics and cleaning products, take action today, put them away – high up or in a cabinet equipped with a safety lock.

Also see our Water Safety in the Home advice page.

Content provided by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Published on Fri, 20 Nov 2020 12:24:13 GMT
Modified on Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:17:58 GMT

'Baby proofing'

The truth is that ‘baby proofing' or ‘child proofing' our homes is a myth. No matter how hard we try, it is impossible to make every environment 100 per cent safe and children will always suffer a few bumps and scrapes along the way.

The truth is that ‘baby proofing’ or ‘child proofing’ our homes is a myth. No matter how hard we try, it is impossible to make every environment 100 per cent safe and children will always suffer a few bumps and scrapes along the way.

Sadly however, some accidents are so serious that they ruin lives forever. Thankfully there’s plenty of practical things we can do to stop these accidents from happening.

The ‘baby proofing’ myth: What you can do

Keep your eyes open.

We know it’s impossible to watch our children 24/7. That’s why getting into the habit of keeping dangerous items out of reach is so important. Some situations however, are just too risky to leave children unsupervised – especially near water, such as in the bath or near a pond, on a high surface, or in the kitchen.

It doesn’t need to be expensive.

While some things such as safety gates and cupboard latches can be invaluable, the reality is you don’t need to spend a fortune protecting your child. Lots of the most valuable things you can do are in fact free. For example, an old towel can serve as a door jammer and getting into the habit of putting hair straighteners away after use or keeping hot drinks well out of reach doesn’t cost anything. Our advice pages give you lots of ideas to get you started.

Sharing really is caring.

For new parents especially, learning simple lessons from other parents can be life changing. Equally, sharing your stories and experiences can challenge assumptions, help to raise awareness and empower others to make safer choices. They can mean the difference between a happy ending and tragedy.

Content provided by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Published on Fri, 20 Nov 2020 12:30:20 GMT
Modified on Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:17:41 GMT

Baby bling

"Baby Bling" refers to the latest craze of accessorising items such as dummies, clips and bottles with stuck-on beads, gems and other decorations to add a touch of "bling" to a baby's look.

What is “baby bling” and what are the risks?

“Baby Bling” refers to the latest craze of accessorising items such as dummies, clips and bottles with stuck-on beads, gems and other decorations to add a touch of “bling” to a baby’s look.

RoSPA is concerned that an increasing number of parents are opting to use these accessorised products and may not be aware of the hazards associated with them. Adding “bling” to baby products in this way serves no medicinal purpose, it is purely a cosmetic addition.

Bling dummies, clips and bottles are of great concern to Trading Standards officers. While many of these products are manufactured by legitimate companies in accordance with the highest safety standards, other companies have been known to buy these products and glue on gems, beads and other decorations. There are strict controls on adding such decoration to soothers, bottles and other baby products and, as such, these customised products are potentially unsafe.

A huge amount of enforcement action has been taken against suppliers of these products, primarily to address choking hazards posed when the “bling” becomes detached. The decoration can become stuck in the throat of the child or can be ingested and cause internal problems. Parents should not take the view that these products are safe because they regularly monitor their children – this is simply not possible every second of every day.

In RoSPA’s view, the biggest problem is that these products are widely available on the internet, but the fact that these products are being offered for sale and delivery to your home does not mean that they are safe for your baby.

What to do if you have concerns about “baby bling”

If consumers have concerns about any products they have seen advertised, they should visit the Citizens Advice website or the Citizens Advice consumer service helpline on 08454 04 05 06.

Content provided by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Published on Fri, 20 Nov 2020 12:36:18 GMT
Modified on Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:17:21 GMT

Outdoor safety

As a new parent, some of the very first decisions we are faced with is how to transport our child around safely. From car seats, to pushchairs to baby slings, there's a lot to get your head around.

As a new parent, some of the very first decisions we are faced with is how to transport our child around safely. From car seats, to pushchairs to baby slings, there’s a lot to get your head around…

  • Child seats save kids’ lives. However, it’s vital that we choose the right seat for our child’s height and weight, and that the seat is fitted properly. If you’re in any doubt, pop in to a reputable shop to ask for advice, or visit our dedicated child car seat website.
  • Even in a minor crash, kids who aren’t strapped in could be thrown about inside the vehicle, or even through the window. Always strap your child safely in their car seat before a journey.
  • Pushchairs and buggies are generally very safe. However, it’s always good to check that the brakes work correctly and that they’re properly unfolded before you use them.
  • If buying a second-hand pushchair, make sure there’s no damage such as sharp edges or torn fabric that could hurt or choke your child.
  • Always keep children away from the pushchair when it is being folded or unfolded to reduce the risk of little fingers being caught.
  • When your child is in their buggy, keep them harnessed at all times to stop them falling out.
  • Don’t forget, children should always travel flat on their backs until around six-months-old, when they are strong enough to support their heads themselves.
  • Some slings are designed badly and tragically have caused suffocation. Make sure you choose a sling that allows you to see your baby’s face at all times, as well as carrying them upright and keeping them close enough to kiss.
  • Because babies do not have strong neck control, their heads are more likely to flop forward. If using a baby sling be sure to keep newborns’ chins off their chest at all times.

  • It might seem harmless, but tragic accidents can happen right on our doorstep. Be aware of toddlers playing on driveways, as you might not always be able to spot them from inside a car. Make sure you know where they are at all times, especially if reversing.
  • Too many children have been crushed and died when a car has rolled on their driveway. If your driveway is on a slope, no matter how steep, always park in gear. This will stop your car if your handbrake fails.
  • Keep your keys out of reach of little hands. Kids love nothing more than to copy their parents. Some have been known to let themselves into cars, and even start the engine – with potentially deadly consequences.

In the garden

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, it can be great fun taking your little one outside – especially in the warmer months. However, there are simple steps we can take to make sure playtime is fun:

  • If you have a garden pond or swimming pool, fit a locking fence around it to stop children falling in. For ponds, you might prefer to fit a rigid grille over the top. You could even think about filling it in – ponds can be easily converted into flowerbeds or sandpits, just until your child’s a bit older.
  • Paddling pools can be great fun to splash around in during the summer months. However, it can take just a minute for children to drown in a few centimetres of water. Never leave children to play unattended.
  • Many trampolines aren’t suitable for children under 6 as they’re not yet sufficiently developed to be able to control their bouncing. Always choose a trampoline with a net. Small children are also better off bouncing alone – and definitely never with an adult, who could crush them if they fell.
  • We may enjoy a spot of gardening in the summer, but tools and equipment such as pruning shears, saws, hedge trimmers and lawn mowers can all seriously hurt small children. Be sure to put tools away after use – a locked shed is best.
  • Common garden chemicals, such as slug pellets, solvents, paint or plant food can all be deadly if swallowed by children. Be sure to put away all chemicals when you’ve finished with them. Again, a locked shed is the safest place.

  • Nothing says summer like the smell of burning sausages on a barbecue. Make sure your barbecue is on a level, stable surface and keep little ones from venturing too close.
  • Some garden plants, such as bright red yew berries, laburnum pods and foxgloves, are especially attractive to small children. They’re also incredibly toxic, and can even lead to death. Always read the label carefully if you’re buying new plants. If you’re unsure about the existing plants in your garden, visit a flower shop or garden centre for more advice.

On holiday

Whether you’re going abroad or enjoying a staycation, there are some easy points to consider when going away with a little one…

  • Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer because you can’t see it, hear it, smell it or taste it. It can be released from faulty gas boilers and fires – with potentially deadly consequences. At home we’d always recommend getting appliances regularly serviced but for holidays a small, portable CO alarm is inexpensive and takes up little room in your suitcase. It will give you peace of mind… and might even save your life.
  • If you’re camping, don’t be tempted to bring your barbecue into your tent – even if it’s raining. Barbecues give off carbon monoxide even whilst cooling, which in an unventilated area like a tent, can be deadly.
  • We all love being out in the sun, but too much can cause painful sunburn and dehydration – which can be especially dangerous for small children. Make sure you keep babies under the age of six months out of direct sunlight, especially around midday. Always remember to encourage your child to wear a hat and apply sun cream regularly in hot weather, no matter how old they are.
  • When booking a holiday in a hotel or villa with a swimming pool check the safety arrangements in advance. Is the pool fenced off? Do they have a lifeguard? It only takes a second for a toddler or small child to wander away and end up in the water.
  • If you’re planning to go swimming in the sea or a lake, plan in advance. Look for a spot with a lifeguard and always pay attention to any safety signs.

Content provided by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Published on Fri, 20 Nov 2020 14:27:16 GMT
Modified on Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:24:52 GMT

Pushchairs and buggies

Despite very high levels of safety, injuries have happened to children, caused primarily by faulty brakes, flammable materials, unstable carriages and finger entrapments in pushchairs.

Pushchairs and buggies are a godsend to parents weighed down by their rapidly growing little darlings.

Despite very high levels of safety, injuries have happened to children, caused primarily by faulty brakes, flammable materials, unstable carriages and finger entrapments.

What should I look for when buying a new pushchair or buggy?

Whether buying a pushchair or buggy new or second-hand, always look for a reference to a safety standard – this will be typically BS 7409 or BSEN 1888:2003.

Are there extra factors to consider when buying or receiving second-hand products?

RoSPA supports the supply of second-hand buggies and pushchairs but advises parents to exercise caution before purchasing these items.

Always check that the product you are buying is safe and has not been involved with a product recall. Also, it needs to be marked as complying with the safety standard(s) mentioned.

Check that all harnesses have five straps and be aware that non-reclining seats are not suitable for a child under six months old.

Should I take any precautions before using a buggy or pushchair for the first time?

Yes, before you put your child in a buggy or pushchair:

  • Check the brakes (lock and unlock them and then push)
  • Check that the product is properly unfolded and “locked” together correctly
  • Check that there is no damage, including sharp edges or torn fabric.

What are the general day-to-day safety tips for using a buggy or pushchair?

General rules for all parents who already own buggies and pushchairs are:

  • Keep your child harnessed in at all times and never leave them unattended
  • If making adjustments keep the child well away from moving parts
  • Buggies and pushchairs require regular maintenance
  • Overloading can be dangerous – don’t put coats and bags on top of the buggy as these can cause it to tip over
  • Handles are not for carrying shopping bags – these can also cause instability
  • If using a “buggy board” for older children to stand on while you push, please ensure that it is suitable for the buggy and fitted correctly
  • Incorrect folding can damage the product
  • Avoid using non-approved accessories which can cause damage
  • ALWAYS read the instructions before assembling and using the product.

You can find more advice and information at the Trading Standards Institute website.

Content provided by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Published on Fri, 20 Nov 2020 14:57:44 GMT
Modified on Tue, 22 Dec 2020 14:11:09 GMT

Content provided by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Published on Wed, 16 Dec 2020 10:08:25 GMT
Modified on Tue, 05 Jan 2021 11:26:56 GMT