Child Safety Week: What you can do to keep your youngsters safe
Mon 6 Jun, 2016
Firefighters are encouraging families and carers to celebrate Child Safety Week, which starts today (Monday 6 June), by involving the children in some simple safety activities.
Preventable accidents are one of the biggest killers in the UK, but setting a good example, and spending a few moments spent making routine checks, can make all the difference.
Small steps such as testing your smoke alarms, taking extra care in the kitchen and making sure candles and matches are out of reach, take just seconds but can save lives.
Additionally, turning off mobile phones, computers and tablets at crucial times allows parents to give their children their focus and keep them safer when pressures mount. It also sets a good example to children and young people to turn off technology when crossing the road or at other times when you need to concentrate to stay safe.
Keith Williams, from Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's community safety team, said: “There’s nothing more important than the safety of a child in the home.
"Getting into the habit of taking a quick glance around the room for hazards is a simple step that will make safety an automatic reflex for any parent or carer, and help give real peace of mind.
“Half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen, with teatime often being particularly challenging. Whatever happens elsewhere in your home, always make sure you have one eye on the hob or oven.
“Another really vital thing grown-ups can do is talk to their children about the importance of fire safety, and make sure everyone knows what to do if the worst happens.
"Fitting a smoke alarm and involving the children in testing it regularly can also help keep them aware of the dangers of fire. This could develop into a life-saving habit for the future.”
Here are Keith's top tips for parents and carers to share with children:
- Don't allow yourself or your children to be distracted by technology when you should be concentrating on something else.
- Don’t let children play with fire. Keep candles, lighters and matches well out of children’s reach, and never leave burning candles unattended.
- Keep safe in the kitchen. Make sure children know that the kitchen is not a play area. Never leave younger children alone in the kitchen when you're cooking, and never let them play near the oven and hob.
- Be careful around electricity. Teach children not to poke anything, especially fingers, into sockets.
- Nominate a child to be the escape champ. Regularly role-play escape routes and give children the responsibility to keep the routes clear.
- Nominate a child to be the smoke alarm monitor. Explain how a working smoke alarm can give you the vital time you need to escape a house fire. You should have one on each level of your home and test it weekly - ask a child to remind you to do this. If your smoke alarm keeps going off accidentally while you are cooking, don’t remove the batteries. Instead move the alarm or change it for one with a silencer button.
- Get ‘key clever’. Encourage your children to check that keys are in the correct place. Keys for windows and doors should always be kept somewhere accessible so you can get out quickly in the event of a fire.
- Discuss how to call 999. Make sure children know which number to call in an emergency. They should also know their address - you can pin both up by the phone. Explain the importance of only calling 999 in a real emergency.
- In the event of a fire, get out, stay out and call 999. Don’t delay for valuables, and don’t investigate or try to tackle the fire. Use a mobile phone, a neighbour’s phone or a phone box to call 999. If someone needs to be rescued, wait safely outside for the firefighters who have the equipment and training to do it. Never go back in.
Child Safety Week is the flagship community education programme of the charity the Child Accident Prevention Trust, which is working to reduce the number of children and young people killed, disabled or seriously injured by accidents.
Find out more about Child Safety Week at www.childsafetyweek.org.uk
Read or download Frances the Firefly, a fire safety book for young children
Read or download the recently-updated Fire Safety for Parents and Child Carers booklet