RNB Consult and Train logoSafety in the home environment

Did you know that half of all under 5s are taken to A&E every year because of an accident? Rachel Benchekroun, from RNB Consult and Train, looks at ways you can support parents to keep children safe at home.

Sadly, at least one child under 5 every week is killed in an accident. And children from deprived backgrounds are most at risk.

As RoSPA remind us, whilst scrapes and bumps are a normal part of childhood, many accidents are far more serious, and these don’t have to happen. 

Public Health England has identified the most common and serious types of accident affecting very young children as: choking, suffocation and strangulation; falls; burns and scalds poisoning; and drowning.

Such accidents can cause lifelong injuries or death.

So what can you do to help ensure children at your nursery are safe at home?

Why not run a Family Safety Awareness campaign in your setting each year?

RoSPA are offering some free resources, including posters and activity sheets. Running a workshop or coffee morning for parents and carers can help raise awareness and help address risks in and around the home.

RoSPA’s short videos highlight risks such as blind cords and driveways, with advice on how to reduce the risks. 

Home safety equipment

For families on a very low income, some home safety equipment may be unaffordable, and temporary or inadequate accommodation may itself pose risks.

Think creatively to help make sure that every family has access to equipment that could prevent accidents. Are there local charities in your area that might be able to provide stair-gates, cots and bed rails, door stoppers and cupboard locks? Or are there trusts that provide small grants that could be used for such items? 

Fire safety

Talk to parents and carers about fire safety. You can see some top tips for fire safety in early years here to print for or share with parents. 

Do they have smoke detectors installed? Do they test them regularly? Do they have functioning batteries? If they are beeping, that could mean the battery – or the alarm itself - needs to be replaced. Does their local fire service provide free home safety visits – and do they provide and install free smoke alarms? If so, could you help arrange visits for your families or direct them to this information?

Talk to parents

By having conversations with parents, you will be able to identify what families might need help with, to ensure their children are safe at home.

Ask parents if they have particular concerns. People may well share stories about ‘near misses’ or accidents – how can we learn from these? What can we all do to prevent children being injured?

First aid is essential

Encouraging parents to learn some essential first aid steps could have a major impact.

If you have the resources to provide a first aid course for parents in your setting, that would be ideal. St John Ambulance have reported that over 40% of parents they spoke to have witnessed their baby choke – yet almost four-fifths do not know what to do in this situation.

Their 40-second advert – The Chokeables – shows parents what to do. St John Ambulance’s website also outlines key information on first aid for babies and children, as does that of the Red Cross, who have also produced a free app. You could share these with parents at your setting. 

As well as talking with parents informally and through workshops, drop-ins or coffee mornings, why not organise a quiz or competition (with a safety-related prize!) to get people really engaged? And don’t forget to share information through your website, newsletter, posters, flyers and social media.

You could direct parents to the Millie's Mark website. Millie's Mark is the gold standard for paediatric first aid in nurseries, with a section of the website dedicated advice and information, relevant to parents. They can access key safety information on button batteries, raw jelly, socket covers and more, plus an interactive quiz on paediatric first aid.

Every action we take could help prevent an accident – and even save a life.

Carbon Monoxide alarm

Boy role-playing as a fire fighter

Woman doing first aid on baby

This blog post was written by Rachel Benchekroun from RNB Consult and Train.