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Out and about

Whether we’re popping to the shops, or going abroad, it’s important to make sure our little ones are safe when we’re out and about.

Sadly, far too many children are still dying in accidents that don’t have to happen.

It doesn’t have to be like this though.

By taking some simple steps, we can make sure our babies and children are safe from harm. Click on the tabs to find out how...

 

Drink

When you’re a busy parent, sometimes a hot cup of tea or coffee can be just the pick-up you need to get you through the day. Unfortunately, hot drinks and small children don’t mix. They are the number one cause of scalds to the under-fives. They can cause life-changing injuries, and can still scald a child 15 minutes after being made.

  • Never leave hot drinks within reach of children
  • Avoid drinking hot drinks while holding a baby or a child
  • Using a coiled lead on a kettle reduces the risk of a child pulling a kettle on top of themselves
  • If you use a hob, always use the back burners where possible, and turn pan handles in to stop children trying to grab them.

Hair straighteners

There are many items in the home that can burn or scald. Here are some to be especially watchful for:

  • Hair straighteners can cause serious burns to children for up to 40 minutes after use. So switch them off and store away immediately in a heat-resistant pouch
  • Mobile phone chargers can cause horrific burns if a child puts the live end in their mouth. Keep them switched off and out of the way when not in use
  • Oven doors, irons, hot pans – the kitchen is a dangerous place for small children. If you can, keep children out of the kitchen while cooking
  • Candles – be especially careful if your child is in fancy dress, which can burn more easily than normal clothing. Why not consider using battery operated candles instead?
  • Children find flames fascinating, so matches and lighters are a serious risk. Keep them out of reach, preferably locked away. We recommend having one high, lockable cupboard in your kitchen to keep anything dangerous in one place and out of a child’s reach.

Gas and solid fuel appliances that have been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained can produce carbon monoxide, a colourless, odourless gas that can cause brain damage, or even death. If flues, chimneys or vents are blocked the likelihood of carbon monoxide poisoning is much greater.

Other than physical symptoms (see the next section), things to look out for include pilot lights that burn orange instead of blue, sooty stains on or near appliances, excessive condensation in the room, or coal or wood fires that burn slowly or go out.

Even if you don’t spot any of these signs, there are steps you should take to make sure your appliances are working as they should be:

  • Have your gas appliances serviced annually by a gas engineer who is registered with the Gas Safe Register. If you live in rented accommodation, your landlord has a legal duty to make sure this happens. If they don’t or won’t do it, you can use this form to report them to the HSE
  • Alarm Use professionals to service any other appliances such as oil or coal burning stoves every year
  • Fit audible carbon monoxide alarms in your home (Which? has a free guide explaining how to install a carbon monoxide alarm properly)
  • Ensure alarms are maintained and replaced according to packaging instructions.
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