Learning about safety It has never been more important to teach children about the dangers around them, says Sue McGee...
YOU CAN’T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF A young child for one second for fear that an accident may happen. More accidents involving children happen at home than on the roads, while many are injured on the beach. More than 75 per cent of underfives who die from unintentional injury do so from accidents in the home. The Covid-19 lockdown has increased the risk of injury and put greater emphasis on the need to teach young children how to avoid accidents in and around the home – especially accidents arising from the following: Choking and strangulation: These injuries result in the highest number of deaths for the under–fives, with injuries categorized in the following groups: inhalation of food and vomit, and suffocation; looped blind cords; nappy sacks, both being major hazards. Falls: Falls from furniture take the lead in the bulk of hospital admissions as well as falls on and from stairs and steps. Medicines and household chemicals: Every week over 100 under-fives are hospitalized due to accidental poisoning. Medicines are the cause of almost 70 per cent of poisoning admissions and household chemicals account for over 20 per cent of the admissions. Burns and scalds: Every week around 60 under-fives are hospitalised as a result of burns or scalds, primarily from boiling water and hot drinks left unattended on tables or cupboards. Button batteries: A major new cause of accidents is button batteries, which are found in many children’s toys and household appliances. These can get stuck in the throat of a young child and not only cause choking but can cause severe tissue burns in less than two hours resulting in lifelong injuries.
KEY AREAS Other key areas for accidents affecting young children are the garden, the road, the play park and the beach. During summer months it is essential on hot days to keep young children hydrated with lots of water and to apply appropriate children’s suntan lotion. Water is always fascinating for children, so having fun in the paddling pool is lovely, just don’t leave them alone when you go inside – a child can drown in less than two inches (six centimetres) of water. That means drowning can happen in a sink or bath, toilet bowl, fountains, buckets, inflatable pools, garden ponds or small bodies of standing water around your home, such as ditches filled with rainwater. Extreme caution is required whenever and wherever water accumulates in and around the home. WATER Children love to play so what better way to teach them how to play safe than through reading and playing games together with safety awareness messages woven in. This is the approach that we at Hari’s World follow as we promote Hari the Elephant’s message to children everywhere to “Play Safe Not Sorry” in all that we do. We are proud to say that our approach is enthusiastically endorsed by parents, grandparents, teachers and carers alike. Child Safety Awareness is our passion and we invite you to visit our website at harisworld.com where you will find reading boards and games, including ‘Spot the Hazards’ to enjoy with your children during these difficult Covid times. Sue McGee is managing director at Hari’s World, whose range of books, safety sacks and resources teach children about safety awareness.