by Pamela Prentice, Campaigns Manager, Child Accident Prevention Trust
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 the 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 go ahead. But we quickly realised how injury risks are likely to be heightened as the pandemic puts families under pressure.
There are increasing reports of 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. We thought particularly of those families living in cramped homes or with no gardens or outside space.
We know that up to 85% 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. And poorer children are at greater risk of death and serious injury.
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 worried about the risk of poisoning. We were concerned too about small children’s exposure to the lithium coin cell batteries that power so many devices in our homes.
So we decided that the pandemic shouldn’t stop the flow of essential safety advice to families. In fact, it made it even more important.
Supporting families under pressure
Thanks to support from Building Safer Communities, we have developed a range of easy-to-share content that practitioners can use to support families under pressure and help keep children safe. You’ll find articles, fact sheets, social media posts and illustrations.
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 own child safety knowledge.
Parents Pack – free to read and share
Child Safety Week, 1 to 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.
Make sure you get them by following www.facebook.com/ChildAccidentPreventionTrust or @childsafetyweek
Beyond Child Safety Week
We are reworking the Child Safety Week Action Pack as a year-round resource. Once face-to-face group work is possible again, Scottish practitioners can receive a free printed copy thanks to support from Building Safer Communities. 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