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Insight: Serious accidents in lockdown – why Child Safety Week matters

For Child Safety Week (1-7 June), Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, explains why practical advice to prevent harm is important now more than ever

Child Safety Week (1-7 June) is the Child Accident Prevention Trust’s annual campaign to equip anyone working with families with essential, practical child safety advice they can share. It will be different this year but as important as ever.

Traditionally, advice shared by trusted practitioners during community events has been a cornerstone of Child Safety Week. Social distancing means no face-to-face events this year. Services may be short-staffed. And support to families is, of necessity, being delivered in very different ways, often through phone calls or digital communications.

We did briefly debate whether Child Safety Week should still go ahead. But we quickly realised all the ways in which injury risks to children may be heightened as the pandemic puts families under pressure.

Poorer children are at greater risk of death and serious injury. Up to eighty five per cent of serious accidents to children under five happen in the home. Children living in overcrowded homes are three times more likely to be injured in preventable accidents.

We recognised how difficult lockdown would be for families, especially those living in cramped homes or with no gardens or outside space Add to that the mental toll on parents from financial worries, caring for children, the endless round of cooking and cleaning, plus trying to keep on top of their own paid work if they can work from home.

Anecdotally, we heard of increases in burns from hot drinks, hair straighteners and steam inhalation. With so many cleaning products in our homes, we were concerned about the risk of poisoning. We also grew concerned about exposure to the lithium coin cell batteries that power so many devices in our homes.

So we decided that, challenging as current circumstances are, lockdown shouldn’t stop the flow of essential safety advice to families. In fact, it made it even more important.

Feedback from practitioners also showed a huge determination to support families in need.  So we adapted our plans to fit the times and changed our offering to practitioners working creatively under pressure.

Thanks to our longstanding relationship with Children in Scotland, we can now bring this to other members to read and share far and wide.

Lockdown help

We have developed a range of easy-to-share content that practitioners can use to support families under pressure and help keep children safe. Under the links included below, you’ll find articles, fact sheets, social media posts and illustrations. There are top tips plus advice on preventing poisons and burns, with more to follow.

Stay safe.

Katrina Phillips, CEO, Child Accident Prevention Trust

Click here to access Safety in lockdown – free content to share
Recognising parents may be feeling overwhelmed, our Parents Pack offers simple tips that can still make a big difference to children’s safety. It’s also a useful way for practitioners to refresh their child safety knowledge.

Child Safety Week: 1-7 June

Throughout Child Safety Week we will have a focus on social media, with lots of posts and tips to share, making it easy for families to get relatable, helpful advice to keep children safe.  Visit www.facebook.com/ChildAccidentPreventionTrust or @childsafetyweek

Beyond Child Safety Week

We are reworking the Child Safety Week Action Pack as an essential year-round resource.  Once face-to-face group work is possible again, Children in Scotland members can receive a free printed copy thanks to support from Building Safer Communities in the Scottish Government. Simply sign up for your free resources.

Sign up for your free action pack and to CAPT’s free safety campaigns, advice and resources at https://www.capt.org.uk/csw-sign-up

About the author

Katrina Phillips is Chief Executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust

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Child Safety Week

Child Safety Week (1-7 June) is the Child Accident Prevention Trust’s annual campaign to equip anyone working with families with essential, practical child safety advice they can share

Visit the website

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