Each year 40,000 under-fives are admitted to hospital following accidents, and lots of these accidents are preventable.
Watch video on tips for making your home childproof and avoiding preventable accidents.
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Before your child starts crawling:
When your child starts crawling:
When your child starts to walk, they are likely to be unsteady on their feet:
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Food is the most common thing for babies and toddlers to choke on.
Keep small objects, such as buttons, coins and small toy parts, out of your baby's reach.
What to do if your child is choking:
Watch Video on helping a choking baby.
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If you think your child has swallowed pills or medicines:
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Babies can drown in as little as 5cm (two inches) of water. Drowning is one of the commonest causes of child death – it’s often silent, so you won’t necessarily hear any noise or struggle.
If your child has a burn:
You should take your child to the nearest A&E department if they have:-
Watch video on what to do if your child has a burn/scald.
Button batteries are the small, round batteries you find in a growing number of toys and everyday objects like remote controls and car key fobs. They can be extremely dangerous for children if swallowed.
There are lots of different sizes and types of button batteries. Lithium button batteries are most dangerous as they are larger and more powerful. If they get stuck in a child’s throat, they can cause serious internal burns or even death within hours of being swallowed.
Why are button batteries dangerous?
Most button batteries pass through the body without a problem. But if a button battery, particularly a lithium button battery, gets stuck in the throat or gullet, energy from the battery can react with saliva to make the body create caustic soda. This is the same chemical used to unblock drains!
This can burn a hole through the throat and can lead to serious internal bleeding and death. The reaction can happen in as little as two hours.
The good news is that children are at very little risk from electric shocks. Electrical sockets are designed to be safe. But electricity can be dangerous in other ways. Old electrical appliances and wiring, and children playing with electrical appliances, can cause burns and house fires.
Parents should be aware of how much their children have learned, and what they are capable of doing with electrical appliances.
CAPT’s age-targeted leaflets give parents an indication of what their child is capable of doing.
How dangerous is electricity?
How can accidents with electricity be prevented?
If parents are aware of the dangers of electricity, they can teach their children, as they grow up, to be aware of the dangers too. But younger children might not know the dangers, and they become curious before they know what they are playing with. Many parents might not know that their toddler is able to plug in an iron or electric fire.
Most accidents that happen with children and electricity can be prevented by keeping potentially dangerous devices out of young children’s reach and away from water. For example:
Other situations, where electrical equipment fails or is used incorrectly, can be prevented by educating parents about the right way to use electrical appliances. For example:
CAPT’s range of leaflets and booklets will support you in your work with parents and carers by underlining the key safety messages. The leaflets are written with different stages of child development in mind, and are a key support tool when teaching parents about child accident prevention.
For more information on electrical safety, visit the Electrical Safety Council website.
This resource is a support tool for practitioners, and is not meant to provide stand-alone safety advice. If you would like teaching aids for workshops, you can purchase some of our colourful, engaging safety resources in the online shop.
There are other important aspects of accident prevention, such as legislation and the physical, social and financial environment that children and families live in. Find out more about the role of practitioners in preventing childhood injuries and deaths from accidents.
Most children's toys are actually very safe. Accidents involving toys usually happen when a young child plays with a toy that is meant for an older child, or when someone trips over toys that have been left out. The reminders below will give you an idea of how to help your child play safely.
Did you know...
Which toys should I buy?
There are so many great toys on the market it can be hard to choose the right one. If you’re not sure, the tips below will help you choose something safe and fun for your child.
The best place to shop for toys is a specialist toy shop or recognised high street shop. These shops won’t sell toys that don’t meet the right safety standards. They also have sales staff on-hand to give you advice on what to buy, and which toys are best for your child.
It’s best to be careful with second hand toys. If you’re looking to save money, a toy library might be a safer option – they’ll lend you toys that are appropriate and in good condition.
Look for the safety symbols. Toys will have a warning on the packaging if they’re not suitable for children under 36 months. Toys with small parts, for instance, will usually have this warning. Also look out for the lion mark – it shows that the manufacturer claims the toys have been made to higher standards of safety and quality.
Which toys are suitable for my child?
All toys should have a label telling you the age they are designed for. The hints below are just a guide to help you choose a toy your child can enjoy safely.
All children develop at different speeds. But even so, it’s best to stick to the age advice on toy packaging. If a baby plays with a toy that has small parts or long fur, they might choke or swallow bits of the toy. Marbles and magnets can also be choked on or swallowed, and magnets are particularly dangerous as they can cause serious problems if swallowed. Toy manufacturers know what is safe and what isn’t so it’s best to follow their age guides.
Sharing toys teaches children good habits, but be careful if older children are sharing their toys. What’s safe for a 7 year old might not be safe for a toddler.
More risky toys can still be fun, if you’re there to play with your child. Toys like baking kits, baby bath toys or chemistry sets will help your children learn, but you’ll need to be there to make sure your child doesn’t get hurt.
How can I keep my child’s toys safe?
Keeping things tidy can be a real hassle, especially with very young children. But encouraging your child to put toys away helps to keep your home safe. As one of the main risks to children is tripping or falling over toys, putting them away in a toy box can save tears. Tidying up things like balloons is especially important – burst balloons are a choking hazard for young children.
Throwing things away can seem wasteful, but if a toy is broken or damaged, it’s better to throw it away than give it to a charity shop or jumble sale. The broken toy could go on to cause accidents for other children.
Battery-powered toys have usually passed rigorous safety tests. But as the batteries wear out, try to avoid mixing old and new batteries - the older batteries could overheat in the toy.
Batteries in children’s toys are covered by safety regulations. They should either be enclosed by a screw and a secure compartment or need two independent or simultaneous movements to open the battery compartment. But remember that older children may still be able to open secure battery compartments.
Toys bought online or from markets, discount stores or temporary shops may not follow the appropriate safety regulations. For example, trading standards officers have issued warnings about light-up fidget spinners where the battery is easily accessible to children.
Read more about the dangers posed by button batteries
Magnets are found commonly around the house (desk toys,
stress relievers, jewellery) and many children’s toys also include small
Why are magnets dangerous if eaten?
Single, small magnets will pass through the body without a
problem. However, if more than one magnet is ingested (eaten) or a magnet is
eaten alongside something metal, there is a risk that part of the intestine can
be caught in between the magnetised objects. This can cause serious damage to
the intestines including perforation (creating a hole in the bowel wall) which
would result in the need for major surgery.
What to do if you think your child has swallowed magnets
You should take your child to an emergency department. It is
likely that they will require an x-ray to determine where the magnets are and
how many they have swallowed. They may need an operation to remove the magnets.
Parents are often unsure as to how many magnets might have
been swallowed and it is important not to assume just one has been eaten.