How do I prevent…?



Grazed knees and bruised heads might be a normal part of every childhood, and normally don’t result in anything more serious than the need for a plaster or a bag of frozen peas. But sometimes, falls can be very serious, especially when a child falls from a great height or lands on something hard, sharp or hot.

While falls are by far the most common accidents in our homes, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the risks.


Countless sources of fire in our homes and gardens can cause serious burns or even start a house fire. Here are some to be especially watchful for:

  • Children are fascinated by flames. Keep lighters and matches out of reach
  • Ovens and gas hobs – the kitchen is a dangerous place for small children. Try to keep them out of the kitchen while cooking, or make sure they are well supervised
  • Be wary of leaving electrical equipment around. Children love to watch and copy and may switch things back on without you realising.

NB: To make sure you find out about any problems with your electrical goods, register them at www.registermyappliance.org.uk. You can do this even if you have moved somewhere where a previous owner or landlord’s fridges, washing machines etc. are already in place.

As every multi-tasking parent knows, trying to prepare a meal when there are little children around can be a serious challenge. However, there are bigger risks than a burnt dinner – small children can be seriously hurt while you’re distracted. Follow these tips to reduce the risk:

  • Try to keep children out of the kitchen while cooking as they can easily burn themselves on hot surfaces like oven doors.
  • Use the back rings of cookers and turn pan handles away so they are not sticking out over the edge.
  • Use a cordless kettle or one with a coiled lead so that children aren’t tempted to pull on it.
  • 5-8% of children in the UK have a food allergy. Be sure to check ingredients labels for hidden allergens, such as sesame in hummus, nuts in cooking oil or milk in gravy mixes.
  • Prevent cross contamination that could make both you and your little one sick. Clean work surfaces and equipment thoroughly to remove traces of anything you might have previously cooked.

Sitting round the table for a meal is often the highlight of our day. However, it’s still important that we take steps to make sure small children are safe from risks such as choking or burns:

  • Always supervise babies and young children when they’re eating – it only takes a second for them to choke
  • A bad scald from a hot drink can be devastating - leading to lengthy medical treatment and leaving scars that last a lifetime. Never hold a hot drink and a baby at the same time. Keep hot cups of tea or coffee out of reach and away from the edge of tables, especially low coffee tables, to prevent them being pulled over on to a child.
  • Insist children sit to eat and drink, and not lie down, walk or run.
  • To avoid choking, cut small foods like tomatoes, grapes and blackberries into quarters and ensure sausages are cut into very small pieces. Think twice before offering very young children hard, slippery or sticky foods.
  • Babies should be strapped in their highchair so they can’t wriggle down or fall out.
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