Tuesday, 22 August 2017
Latest Issue


Halloween 2016

Dr Lyndsey Thompson warns of the five most common household items that could be a safety hazard to your child...

Like most parents, I am very aware of the dangers that my children may face. It's only natural that we want to protect them from danger, especially when accidents are one of the leading causes of death in children aged one to 16 years. However many childhood accidents and injuries happen within the home, so it's worth taking the time to consider some of these top five common household hazards and ways to minimise their risk to your child:

1. Button batteries: These small, round batteries are found in many household objects and toys. Unfortunately they are the perfect size for children to swallow, and can lead to severe internal burns and death. If you have any suspicion that you child has swallowed a button battery go to your nearest Accident and Emergency immediately.

2. Liquitabs: With bright colours and convenient size, children can easily mistake these for sweets. These liquid capsules contain concentrated detergent, and if swallowed they can lead to airway swelling and death. Liquitabs should be stored in secure containers/locked cupboards well out of the reach of children. If you have any suspicion that you child has swallowed a liquitab, seek medical attention immediately.

3. Hair Straighteners: Up to one in 10 admissions to hospital burns units are as a result of babies/children being burnt by hair straighteners. Reaching temperatures up to 235°C, they can cause severe burns, sometimes requiring skin grafts. Prevention includes using and storing straighteners (and their leads) out of reach of children, as well as using heatproof pouches, as straighteners can remain at high temperatures for over 15 minutes after being turned off. First aid measures for burns include the three C’s:
1) Cool the area with cool/lukewarm water for 10 to 20mins.
2) Cover with a non-fluffy dressing such as cling film and
3) Call for help/seek medical attention.

4. Poisoning: Medications (such as bottles of children’s medicine that haven’t been closed properly), liquid air fresheners, and e-cigarette refills are all common causes of childhood poisoning requiring hospital admission. All medications should be stored in secure containers/cupboards, well out of the reach of children. If you are concerned your child has ingested any of these products, seek medical attention immediately. It is useful for you to bring the item with you for the list of ingredients.

5. Blinds: Blind cords injuries are a rare but severe risk to children, causing possible strangulation. Make sure that any blind cords with loops have safety devices fitted, are secured out of the reach of children, and that there is no furniture near these loops that could allow children to access them. RoSPA research shows that there have been at least 30 deaths across the UK due to looped cords since 1999. Since 2014 safety standards requires that new blinds must be "safe by design" or be supplied with the appropriate child safety devices installed. If you, or anyone who cares for your child has blinds, make them safe by ensuring a cleat, chain-break connectors or cord tidy is fitted, These items are available from most British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA)-approved suppliers and some DIY stores and are not expensive.

By making these small changes, in addition to other safety equipment such as stairgate, you can greatly reduce the risk of injury to a child in the home.

Dr Lyndsey Thompson has been a medical doctor for nine years, and has specialised in paediatrics and child health for the past six years. She has three children aged seven, five and 18 months.

Your Comments

  • Not So Sweet

    Do you think sweet packets should carry cigarette style health warnings with pictures of children's decayed teeth to try and cut down on the amount of sweets children eat? Health professionals and dentists have recommended the move but do parents agree? More..

  • Safety Net

    Every year, the equivalent of two children in every primary school class in the UK have suffered abuse or neglect. But the majority are left without the support services they so desperately need. More..

  • Inside Out Parenting

    Ni4kids discovers more on this ‘empowered approach to parenting’ and how to raise well-rounded kids ready to take on the world… More..

  • Safety Net

    In the second of our series of articles to help parents keep children safe online this summer, Margaret Gallagher, Campaigns Manager at NSPCC NI, says talking about internet safety should be as natural as asking them what they got up to at school... More..

  • Safety Net

    Mairead Monds Childline Manager for NI, talks online safety for parents and where to find out what you really need to know... More..

  • Parents’ Opinion: Pocket Money

    It’s an age-old debate between kids and their parents which will never end. How much is enough when it comes to pocket money and should kids do chores to earn it? More..

Download boredom busting activity sheets here

Web design and development by Creative Online Media, Belfast. Copyright 2007-2008. All rights reserved.

This page is valid XHTML 1.0 Strict, CSS