Guard against falls in the home

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With falls being the most common cause of accidents to children in the home, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) is making it the focus for the second day of its Family Safety Week to help people protect their loved ones from death and injury.

Ten children are killed every year due to a fall in the home, the majority of which occur on the stairs and some from windows and balconies. Under-fives are most at risk with falls accounting for 44 per cent of home accidents involving children in this age group.

To highlight this, RoSPA, a family safety charity which has been at the heart of accident prevention for almost 100 years, has made falls the theme of the second day of its five-day event, which was launched on Monday.

The majority of falls involve children tripping over on the same level. However, the most serious injuries result from falls between two levels, such as falling out of a pram, highchair or bed. The worst injuries are suffered when a child falls from a great height or lands on something hard, sharp or hot.

Simple tips to prevent falls include:

Fitting a safety gate at the top and bottom of stairs; Never leaving tripping hazards on the stairs; ensuring stairs are carefully maintained - damaged or worn carpet should be repaired or removed;Making sure balustrades are strong and do not have any footholds for climbing; ensuring stairs are well lit; fitting child-resistant window restrictors; do not put anything under the window that can be climbed on; decuring furniture and kitchen appliances, at risk from being pulled over, to the wall.

Sheila Merrill, RoSPA’s public health adviser, said: “Accidents are the main cause of death for children and young people across the UK with children under-five being most at risk.

“Naturally, children like to explore the world around them so it’s important not to wrap them in cotton wool and to remember that bumps and bruises are a normal part of childhood. But simple things, like looking around your home from a child’s point of view, can help you spot the more serious hazards that you might have missed and take steps to make them safer.

“By providing lots of simple, practical advice during Family Safety Week we can help to ensure that the ones we love stay healthy and happy - and on their feet.”

Family Safety Week was set up by RoSPA in a bid to help millions of people protect their loved ones from accidents – the number one cause of early preventable death.

The event, which has the theme of under-fives in the home, will run until Friday, March 11. Other themes during the Week include burns and scalds, poisonings, suffocation and choking.

Advice and information is available at www.familysafetyweek.org.uk.