Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why Man's Best Friend Could Be Your Child's Worst Nightmare; in an Era When There Are Frequent References to "Health and Safety Gone Mad" HANNAH DAVIES Discovers Why National Child Safety Week Is Still Very Relevant

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why Man's Best Friend Could Be Your Child's Worst Nightmare; in an Era When There Are Frequent References to "Health and Safety Gone Mad" HANNAH DAVIES Discovers Why National Child Safety Week Is Still Very Relevant

Article excerpt

Byline: HANNAH DAVIES

THE adage, "most accidents happen at home," is as true now as it ever was. Which is why National Child Safety Week, organised by the Child Accident Prevention Trust, is as important as ever.

Accidents are one of the biggest killers of children in the UK, second only to cancer. And next year around two million children nationally will have an accident at home.

One of the biggest forces in the region trying to improve child safety is the Whoops Child Safety Project run by charity The Children's Foundation.

Carole Hewison, who leads the project, adds: "Serious accidents can cause injuries that take months or years to heal. But the psychological damage caused to children and their families can often last a lifetime.

"Many of these accidents can be prevented by taking the time to move a hot drink, check a smoke alarm, lock the medicine cabinet or fit a safety gate."

The Gateshead-based project, now celebrating its 10th anniversary year, gives training sessions to parents, children and health professionals across the North East on a variety of child safety issues.

It has helped reduce admissions for burns and scalds to accident and emergency departments in the region by 50%.

Carole says: "This week is really another week in the office for us as we're working to improve child safety all year. Child safety is about basic common sense, not health and safety madness.

"What we are not doing is telling people to wrap their children in cotton wool but asking them to put in place simple measures to make sure their children aren't disabled or their lives put at risk."

The team deliver the courses at Sure Start centres and community groups. And they make sure they have impact. Carole adds: "We use very visual images of injuries or burns. You can hear people gasp when they see them. It has an impact and you know they are seeing sense."

One of the areas Carole and her team are really pushing is dog safety. Following high-profile cases which have seen family dogs killing babies and severely injuring children this is a timely issue.

Figures released this year show serious injuries caused by dogs have soared in Newcastle, with the number needing hospital treatment doubling. …

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