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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...
As a new parent, some of the very first decisions we are faced with is how to transport our child around safely. From car seats, to pushchairs to baby slings, there’s a lot to get your head around...
- Child seats save kids’ lives. However, it’s vital that we choose the right seat for our child’s height and weight, and that the seat is fitted properly. If you’re in any doubt, pop in to a reputable shop to ask for advice, or visit our dedicated child car seat website.
- Even in a minor crash, kids who aren’t strapped in could be thrown about inside the vehicle, or even through the window. Always strap your child safely in their car seat before a journey.
- Pushchairs and buggies are generally very safe. However, it’s always good to check that the brakes work correctly and that they're properly unfolded before you use them.
- If buying a second-hand pushchair, make sure there’s no damage such as sharp edges or torn fabric that could hurt or choke your child.
- Always keep children away from the pushchair when it is being folded or unfolded to reduce the risk of little fingers being caught.
- When your child is in their buggy, keep them harnessed at all times to stop them falling out.
- Don’t forget, children should always travel flat on their backs until around six-months-old, when they are strong enough to support their heads themselves.
- Some slings are designed badly and tragically have caused suffocation. Make sure you choose a sling that allows you to see your baby’s face at all times, as well as carrying them upright and keeping them close enough to kiss.
- Because babies do not have strong neck control, their heads are more likely to flop forward. If using a baby sling be sure to keep newborns’ chins off their chest at all times.
- It might seem harmless, but tragic accidents can happen right on our doorstep. Be aware of toddlers playing on driveways, as you might not always be able to spot them from inside a car. Make sure you know where they are at all times, especially if reversing.
- Too many children have been crushed and died when a car has rolled on their driveway. If your driveway is on a slope, no matter how steep, always park in gear. This will stop your car if your handbrake fails.
- Keep your keys out of reach of little hands. Kids love nothing more than to copy their parents. Some have been known to let themselves into cars, and even start the engine – with potentially deadly consequences.
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, it can be great fun taking your little one outside – especially in the warmer months. However, there are simple steps we can take to make sure playtime is fun:
- If you have a garden pond or swimming pool, fit a locking fence around it to stop children falling in. For ponds, you might prefer to fit a rigid grille over the top. You could even think about filling it in – ponds can be easily converted into flowerbeds or sandpits, just until your child’s a bit older.
- Paddling pools can be great fun to splash around in during the summer months. However, it can take just a minute for children to drown in a few centimetres of water. Never leave children to play unattended.
- Many trampolines aren’t suitable for children under 6 as they’re not yet sufficiently developed to be able to control their bouncing. Always choose a trampoline with a net. Small children are also better off bouncing alone – and definitely never with an adult, who could crush them if they fell.
- We may enjoy a spot of gardening in the summer, but tools and equipment such as pruning shears, saws, hedge trimmers and lawn mowers can all seriously hurt small children. Be sure to put tools away after use – a locked shed is best.
- Common garden chemicals, such as slug pellets, solvents, paint or plant food can all be deadly if swallowed by children. Be sure to put away all chemicals when you’ve finished with them. Again, a locked shed is the safest place.
- Nothing says summer like the smell of burning sausages on a barbecque. Make sure your barbecque is on a level, stable surface and keep little ones from venturing too close.
- Some garden plants, such as bright red yew berries, laburnum pods and foxgloves, are especially attractive to small children. They’re also incredibly toxic, and can even lead to death. Always read the label carefully if you’re buying new plants. If you’re unsure about the existing plants in your garden, visit a flower shop or garden centre for more advice.
Whether you’re going abroad or enjoying a staycation, there are some easy points to consider when going away with a little one...
- Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer because you can’t see it, hear it, smell it or taste it. It can be released from faulty gas boilers and fires – with potentially deadly consequences. At home we’d always recommend getting appliances regularly serviced but for holidays a small, portable CO alarm is inexpensive and takes up little room in your suitcase. It will give you peace of mind... and might even save your life.
- If you’re camping, don’t be tempted to bring your barbecque into your tent – even if it’s raining. Barbecques give off carbon monoxide even whilst cooling, which in an unventilated area like a tent, can be deadly.
- We all love being out in the sun, but too much can cause painful sunburn and dehydration – which can be especially dangerous for small children. Make sure you keep babies under the age of six months out of direct sunlight, especially around midday. Always remember to encourage your child to wear a hat and apply sun cream regularly in hot weather, no matter how old they are.
- When booking a holiday in a hotel or villa with a swimming pool check the safety arrangements in advance. Is the pool fenced off? Do they have a lifeguard? It only takes a second for a toddler or small child to wander away and end up in the water.
- If you’re planning to go swimming in the sea or a lake, plan in advance. Look for a spot with a lifeguard and always pay attention to any safety signs.