DANGER LURKS, NO KIDDING; with Child Safety Week under Way, the Child Accident Prevention Trust Tells LISA SALMON It Doesn't Take a Lot of Effort to Keep Coventry Kids Safe

Article excerpt

Byline: LISA SALMON

APARENT'S primary instinct is to protect their child, although sometimes modern life is so busy that it's tempting to cut corners when it comes to safety measures.

But it doesn't need to take a lot of time to prevent child accidents, which are one of the biggest killers of UK children.

That's why this year's Child Safety Week, which runs until Sunday, is focusing on the theme 'small steps to safety'.

The week, which is run by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), aims to raise awareness of the accidents that seriously injure or kill children, and the fact that preventing them takes very little effort.

The message is particularly directed at the many busy parents who say they don't have time to even think about preventing their children having serious accidents. "However pushed and stressed parents may be feeling, there are many simple, small steps to safety that they can take," explains Katrina Phillips, CAPT's chief executive. "Be it putting their hot drink safely out of reach, teaching children how to cross the road safely, or strapping their child into their car seat each time, the steps to safety are small but by taking them families can make a big difference." As well as road traffic accidents, some of the common childhood accidents are caused by falls, choking, drowning, poisoning, strangulation, suffocation and burns and scalds.

CAPT points out that nine toddlers are admitted to hospital every day because they've been badly burned, and 95 per cent of all childhood burns and scalds happen at home.

For this reason, a cup of tea could be the most dangerous thing in your lounge, as a hot drink can scald a baby even 15 minutes after it's been made.

"Hot drink scalds are the most common cause of scald injury for young children," warns Phillips.

"You just put your hot drink down on the coffee table at the same time as your young child realises she can pull herself onto her legs for the first time, and she grabs it and pulls it all over her.

"It's horribly common." In addition, remember that hair straighteners can get as hot as an iron, and a child can be burned if they touch them, even if they've been unplugged for as long as eight minutes.

Small steps that can help prevent such burns include simply keeping hot drinks and equipment well out of reach, and when running a bath, putting cold water in first and topping up with hot.

Some safety equipment such as thermostatic mixing valves on bath taps, and heatproof bags for hair straighteners can also help prevent burns.

Each day around 40 under-fives are rushed to hospital after choking, or swallowing something dangerous.

Food is the most likely cause, but small objects and toys can also be risky for young children, so keep small objects out of reach, stay with toddlers when they're eating and encourage them to sit still.

And because babies and toddlers will grab small objects and put them in their mouths, keep toys designed for older children, which may feature small parts, away from youngsters. …