We’ve all been there. Those moments when we’ve done little more than blink and we’ve missed the reason for a sudden thud and the sound of our precious little darling sobbing. Bumps and bruises; an inevitable part of childhood. Ok, so they may look unsightly but they’re proof that your child is successfully exploring and experimenting with the world around them. The far greater concern is the accidents that can happen just as quickly but have much more serious consequences. That’s why the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) is about to embark on its annual ‘Child Safety Week’, which this year starts on Monday 6 June. The campaign aims to not only draw parents’ attention to common dangers in and around the home but also make them aware that prevention of serious injury is well within their control.
‘Accidents do, and will, happen, but investing a little time now in making your home child-friendly will reduce the likelihood of something going seriously wrong further down the line’ commented Katrina Phillips , CEO of CAPT.
Where to start? I’d strongly suggest adopting CAPT’s motto for this year’s campaign ASAP, which is ‘Turn off technology for safety’. So first things first, turn off your phone and grab a notebook and pen. The next hour could poten- tially be one of the most important hours of your life so make sure you’re unlikely to be distracted (I recognise that’s a big ask). Your first task is to think about and list all the potential hazards that could cause an accident, including those that may only pose a risk as your munchkin grows and develops. Ideally, go around each room of your house and jot down anything that springs to mind. The CAPT website is a great place to help you identify common dangers.
Next, assuming the first task hasn’t catapulted you into an uncontrollable state of panic, your second task is to create an action plan. Start by putting together a list of everything that needs doing in order to remove the risks you highlighted. It may be helpful to arrange the ‘to do’ list into manageable chunks, which can be even smaller than just rooom-by-room.
For example, you might split the kitchen into ‘Cupboard Access’, ‘Cupboard Contents’, and ‘Surface Accessibility’ (ensuring all appliances are pushed back, for instance).
Now think about ways you can incorporate safety habits into everyday life so that they become second nature. This could involve making sure hot mugs are always placed in specified areas out of reach of eager little hands, or making sure stair gates are closed as a matter of course. Continuing with the ‘Turn off technology for safety’ theme, you could vow to always put your mobile on silent during meal times so more atten- tion can be paid to your child’s needs. Amongst other things, this will help ensure no food enters their mouth that hasn’t been adequately chopped up.
Creating an action plan like this may appear like hard work but trust me, your actions now could determine whether your future turns out bright or bleak…
Darshna Morzaria is an Ofsted registered childminder and member of PACEY. Contact her for advice on your childcare related issues. http://www.LittleDarling.co.uk or 07932 623852. Child Safety Week starts on Monday 6 June. Visitwww.capt.org.uk