How do I keep my baby or Toddler safe from injury

How do I keep my baby and toddler safe from injury?
Minor bumps and scrapes are all part of growing up but babies and toddlers need extra care to protect them.  Compared to older children and adults their bones are more delicate, their skin is thinner and they do not have the coordination or ability to make decisions about their own safety.   They rely on us to keep them safe. 
The most serious injuries result in admission to hospital or death.  Here in Wakefield, we have taken a closer look at those injuries.  We have tried to learn from the mistakes ofothers and hope you can learn too.  By following our advice and understanding the reasons behind them we hope you can create safe, fun and stimulating environments for your babies and toddlers to grow up in.

In summary:
  • Watch them closely
    • Babies tend to wriggle, kick and fall off things
    • Toddlers tend to reach, crawl, trip and slip
  • Adopt safer ways of doing things
    • Babies - always change them on the floor and never leave on a raised surface such as a bed or sofa
    • Toddlers - Get on your hands and knees and see your home from a child’s eye view.  You’ll be amazed at what you discover and how easily they can get to things
  • Use safety devices where appropriate
    • Babies and toddlers are surprisingly quick and inquisitive.  Precious seconds can be gained by using safety devices, preventing serious injury
  • Teach and learn about safety
    • Babies and toddlers copy adults so be careful about what you do in front of them.  Help them learn by example
    • Explain why they cannot touch or play with something from an early age – you will feel like a broken record but they will eventually learn.
How do I keep them safe from falls?

Falls account for nearly half of all serious injuries to babies and toddlers.  Here are the most common reasons for serious and fatal falls and our top tips for preventing them:
  • Stairs and steps
    • Fit a safety gate at the top and bottom of stairs
    • Teach your child to safely climb steps and stairs, as soon as they are crawling.  Teach them to crawl up on all fours and down feet first on their belly.  By teaching them young they will master the skills; leave it too late and everything will be a distraction and it will be more difficult for them.  Even after they learn to use steps and stairs always supervise until much older.
    • Keep stairs free from clutter
  • Slipping, tripping or stumbling
    • Clean up spills straight away
    • Keep areas tidy
    • Teach them to use steps safely
    • Replace worn mats or carpets
  • Furniture
    • Change baby on the floor
    • Never lay a baby on a bed, sofa or chair
    • Always place “bumbo” seats or car seats on the floor
    • Use 5 point harnesses on feeding chairs and prams
  • Being carried or supported by other persons
    • Always hold rails walking down steps and stairs
    • Do not allow young children to carry babies
  •  Playground equipment
    • Always encourage play suitable for their development
    • Some children are natural climbers and are more at risk of falls.  Put cushions on to floors and create safer areas for them to fall.  Allow them to crawl over your body.
  • Other falls from height
    • Fit window restrictors but make sure you can get out in an emergency
    • Fix tvs and all furniture that can be pulled over to walls
    • Do not put anything near windows that can be climbed on
How do I keep them safe from burns, scalds and fires?

Although burns and scalds are less common, they cause some of the most painful and serious injuries.  House fires pose one of the greatest risks to children.  Here are the most common reasons for serious burns and scalds, top tips for preventing them and advice for immediate first aid to reduce severity of the injury:
  • Hot drinks, food and liquids
    • Keep out of reach – at least 30cm from the edge of any surface.
    • Do not place hot drinks on window sills – children commonly reach them
    • Never hold a child while drinking or preparing drink or food
    • Use rear plates on the cooker and keep handles out of reach
    • Always mix food thoroughly and test temperature before serving
    • Keep flasks for warming milk bottles out of reach
    • Always test the temperature of food and milk before serving.  Warm but not hot.  Be very careful with microwaved food and drink and stir well
  • Heating & household appliances, radiators & pipes
    • Use a hair straightener pouch.  Keep and store hot and cooling straighteners out of reach
    • Do not place a cot or moses basket next to a radiator
    • Keep hot and cooling irons out of reach
  • Contact with hot tap water
    • Run cold water first into a bath followed by hot.  Test the temperature with your elbow.
    • Run the hot water system at 46°C or fit a thermostatic mixing valve to taps
  • Fire in the home
    • Keep matches and lighters out of sight and reach
    • Use a fireguard secured to the wall
    • Fit a smoke alarm on all floors, especially near the kitchen where most home fires start
    • Have an escape route planned and practice it
    • Do not attempt to put out a fire – get out of the house and call the fire brigade
    • Keep doors closed at night
    • Turn off all electrical devices at night, including phone chargers
What is the first aid advice for burns and scalds?
  1. Act fast. Stop the burning. Remove all burnt or burning clothing and jewellery unless stuck to the child.
  1. Cool under tap water for at least ten minutes. This will reduce the pain and damage to the skin.  Keep the rest of the patient warm.
     3.  Call 999 or 111 if less urgent medical help needed.

     4. For serious hand and feet burns, cover with cling film or a clean plastic      bag. This  will keep the burn clean and they do not stick to the skin. 
Do not wrap too tight.

How do I keep them safe from poisoning?

A surprisingly high number of babies and toddlers suffer poisoning injuries.  Here are the two most common causes and top tips for keeping them safe:
  • Adult and children’s medicines
    • Keep all medicines locked up, out of sight and reach.  Portable, lockable medicines boxes help keep them in one place.  Check handbags, drawers and other places around the home
    • Take your medicine out of sight, even when they are a baby – toddlers love to copy adults
    • Use a syringe to administer children’s medicine.  They are easier than a spoon and more accurate.  Ask the chemist to give you one
    • Write down the time and amount of medicine to avoid an overdose
  • Household chemicals
    • Keep all chemicals out of sight and reach, preferably in a locked cupboard on a high shelf
    • Keep liquid washing powder sachets and pouches out of sight and reach.   They easily bite into them and often suffer eye injury from the liquid type
  • Flowers and berries
    • Teach children to look but not touch or eat
    • Learn about the flowers in your garden and understand what is a risk
How do I keep them safe from suffocation and choking?

Here are some common causes and top tips for keeping little ones safe:
  • Nappy sacks and plastic bags
    • Keep out of reach and store safely.  Do not store nappy sacks under cot mattresses as babies have suffocated
  • Coins, buttons, marbles and other small parts and toys
    • Keep out of reach, regularly check the floor and access to bags
  • Food and milk
    • Always hold your baby whilst bottle feeding
    • Once on solid food, cut it up into small pieces.  It is a good idea to cut food lengthways such as carrots, cucumber and grapes and avoid circular pieces which can easily get stuck
  • Duvets and pillows
    • Avoid using until at least the age of one as they cannot push them out of the way
How do I keep them safe from strangulation?
Toddlers are most vulnerable to strangulation as they are mobile, their heads weigh proportionally more than their bodies in comparison to adults and they do not have full muscular control.  Over recent years a number of deaths have occurred due to blind cords, particularly in children’s bedrooms.  Here are some top tips for keeping safe:
  • Blind cords
    • Tie up the cords using a cleat or clip
    • Bedrooms pose the highest risk to toddlers
  • Toys or mobiles above cots or beds
    • Do not hang mobiles or toys above cots or beds whilst sleeping as they can fall down
  • Draw string bags
    • Small heads fit through the loops, keep out of reach
How do I keep them safe from serious cuts and broken bones?

As babies start moving and become more inquisitive they are more likely to fall into things, grab, reach and get their fingers trapped or broken.  Here are some common causes and safety tips:
  • Glass – windows, doors, greenhouses
    • Apply shatter resistant film to make existing glass safe
    • Use safety glass to BS 6206 in all replacement windows and glass
  • Knives, sharp objects and kitchen items
    • Use cupboard and drawer locks
    • Have a “safe” cupboard in the kitchen and elsewhere in the home where appropriate.  Plastic, wooden spoons and small pans are ideal play toys to keep little ones entertained in the kitchen.
  • Doors – internal and external
    • Use door stoppers or jammers but remove them at night-time to reduce risk of fire and smoke spreading when asleep
    • Open windows and doors will cause doors to slam shut unexpectedly at force
How to I keep them safe from drowning?

Babies can drown in as little as 5cm (two inches) of water. Drowning is silent so you won’t necessarily hear any noise or struggle.
  • Bath
    • Always stay with them whilst in the bath.  Do not leave them for a second
    • Do not leave them with an older brother or sister – tragedies have happened
    • Bath seats are not safety devices and baby can slip out of them easily
  • Buckets in the garden
    • Water collects in buckets and similar items.  Store them upside down
  • Ponds, pools and other bodies of water
    • Make sure pools are surrounded by locked fences and children are kept out
    • Be careful on holiday and supervise at all times – do not rely on lifeguards
    • Be aware of waves and currents – they easily knock toddlers over
    • Be aware of cold water – it easily kills
    • Keep away from icy and frozen water – it easily cracks


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