Falls are the most common cause of accidental injury to children in the home, accounting for 45% of all hospital admissions for childhood injury. Indeed, home is where most falls in childhood happen.
While most falls aren't serious - active children will often fall over - some falls can be more serious, leading to death or long-term disability. So it's important to know about the simple things that you can do prevent serious falls in the home.
You can keep your home child friendly by:
- Keeping toys and clutter off the floor and stairs so there is nothing to trip over
- Fitting safety gates so that young children can’t access the stairs
- Fitting window catches so that they can’t fall out of the window
- Moving furniture away from windows – for those children who love to climb!
- Fitting soft corners to tables, fire hearths, and other sharp corners around the home
- Strapping your child into their highchair every time they use it, no matter how short a time they'll stay in it
- Using impact-absorbent surfaces (such as bark chips) in garden play areas.
The following video demonstrates how easy it is for a child to fall from a high window with no locks:
Take our quiz to find out if your home is a Child Friendly Zone, along with ideas to help you make your home safer for your child.
For more information about steps you can take to make your home a Child Friendly Zone, why not complete the Home Safety Checklist with your family?
Or you can print our "Child Friendly Zone" signs and put them up in your house, to remind you of our top tips for keeping your home Child Friendly!
As we head into the summer months and the weather outside is getting warmer, outdoor trampolines can be popular.
Trampolines are a common cause of accidents however, and injuries from trampolining have increased over the last year as more of us spend time at home in the garden.
Did you know that the majority of accidents happen when two or more people are on the trampoline? Collisions when 2 or more people are bouncing can cause head injuries, or the lightest child to fall off.
It's important to read and follow the instructions, and ensure your trampoline complies with the appropriate standards for domestic trampolines.
Here are a few safety tips to help keep your kids happy, and avoid a trip to A&E:
The trampolines that we use at home are covered by the British Standard BS EN 71-14:2018. The standard doesn’t cover things like public trampolines, fitness trampolines or those incorporating additional features such as tents or basketball hoops.
When buying a trampoline, look for a model with safety pads and check that they cover the frame, hooks and springs. Also consider a trampoline with safety netting to help prevent the user from falling off the trampoline. The enclosure entrance should be big enough for an adult to access, and it must be possible to open it from the inside and outside.
Read the instructions and all the warnings displayed. These will include warnings such as the maximum weight of the user, that adult supervision is required and that no somersaults should be done on the trampoline. One warning that will be displayed, which we know is a difficult one, is that trampolines should only be used by one person at a time. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), 60% of trampoline injuries occur when more than one person is using the trampoline at a time.
For more information on trampoline safety see The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
Further Garden Safety advice is available from the Child Accident Prevention Trust
If you are concerned about the safety of a product, stop using it immediately, and report it to Trading Standards via 0808 223 1133.
When to use safety gates
Safety gates can be used to
- Stop small children going up and down stairs unsupervised
- Reduce the risk of your child falling down stairs.
- Keep small children out of places where it is harder to keep them safe such as the kitchen.
- Keep small children and pets separate.
Consider where you might need safety gates in your home before your baby becomes mobile.
When to stop using safety gates
It can be difficult to know when to stop using safety gates. The time to remove them is when safety gates can cause a risk of accident.
Remove them if
- Your child can climb over them.
- Your child can open them.
Safety gates are only licenced for use up until your child is 2 years old and it is important for you to be aware that there are increased risks if using them with children over 2, however there may be occasions in your home that you need safety gates above the age of 2, for example if you have one child over 2 and younger children in the home.
In these situations
- Teach your child to safely get up and down the stairs when they are ready,
- Supervise your child around safety gates,
- Think about the type of gate you have, for example make sure they do not have notches that make the gate easier to climb for a toddler.
- Teach your older child to open and close them safely or ask for your help. Never let them climb over them.
How to fit a safety gate
There are a range of different safety gates available to suit your needs. When you are choosing a gate ensure you follow these steps below:
- Make sure they meet the safety standard BS EN 1930:2011 and follow the fitting instructions.
- If you are using second hand ensure they meet the standard and have fitting instructions.
- Ensure the gate is suitable for the space
When using safety gates remember
- Always keep the gate closed
- Do not climb over the gate as your child may copy you
- Regularly check the gate to ensure it is secure and in good condition
- Never stack one stair gate on top of another to make a taller barrier – this is very dangerous and can cause serious injury for your child.
If you have further questions or require support please contact the health business centre on 03456078866.
Useful websites with information on keeping safe:
- NHS: Accidents, first aid and treatments
- NHS: What to do if your child has an accident
- Institute of Health Visiting: Top Tips for Parents
- Child and Accident Prevention Trust
- The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
- British Red Cross First Aid App
- Water Safety at Home - the Royal Life Saving Society
- NHS Sunscreen and Sun Safety
For more information about how you can reduce risks in your home and what to do if your child has an accident, visit