Supermum to the rescue; With just a few simple steps, parents could become Safety Heroes and keep their kids out of danger. LISA SALMON reports on a new campaign to help them save the day.
MOST parents would move heaven and earth to keep their children safe, but, actually, keeping kids out of harm's way shouldn't be that hard, according to the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT).
They are urging parents to become 'Safety Heroes' with three simple but effective safety actions during Child Safety Week (June 24-30). CAPT points out that parents, and grandparents, don't need to be superhuman to be a Safety Hero, as the safety measures can be as simple as moving a hot drink out of a toddler's way, or tying up a blind cord every day so children aren't at risk of being strangled by it.
"Parents are often doing a lot of heroic stuff, but it's not always getting the credit it should," says Katrina Phillips, chief executive of CAPT.
Katrina says parents simply need to be aware of the dangers that seemingly innocuous household objects can pose to children, and take steps to keep children safer. Steps could include putting locks on windows to prevent falls, buying a highchair and pushchair with five-point harnesses and strapping your child in every time, and fitting safety gates, as every day 800 children under five are taken to hospital as a result of a fall.
Hot water can also be very dangerous for children - in just five seconds, a toddler's skin can be burned so badly by hot tap water that they need to go to hospital. CAPT advises parents to bear this in mind, and put the cold water in to the bath first, top up with hot, and then test the water. And the Safety Hero's bath responsibility doesn't end there, for one of the campaign's pledges is always to stay with young children and babies while they're in the bath.
Nasty burns can also come from hair straighteners, even after they've been unplugged for eight minutes - so put them out of reach of children immediately after use. And for the benefit of the whole family including the children, check smoke alarms are working every week.
Katrina the Child Prevention There's also the danger of poisoning - 11 children are admitted to hospital every day because it's thought they've swallowed something poisonous. A CAPT survey earlier this year found that more than three-quarters of parents thought child-proof caps were impossible for children to open.
But Katrina warns some three-year-old children can open child-proof caps in seconds, so parents and grandparents should keep medicines and cleaning products in a locked or high cupboard.
"If they were child-proof, they'd be adult-proof as well," Katrina points out. "Putting cleaning products safely away is vital."
" And it's not only in the house that parents need to be Safety Heroes. Road safety is just as important. Katrina says: "When you're crossing the road with your kids, remember they're sponges that absorb what you do. So if you're in a mad rush and you haul them across the road while you're on your mobile orPhillips of Accident Trust (CAPT) texting, don't be surprised if that's what they do too in a few years' time."
Parents driving with children obviously need to bear safety in mind too - every year around 4,000 children under 10 are injured and 11 killed as passengers on British roads. CAPT suggests parents should make sure they use a car seat that's right for their child's age, weight and height, and avoid buying a second-hand car seat, as it may have been damaged in an accident.
CAPT is asking parents to choose their three safety pledges from a list on the CAPT website, and when they've done those three things they can print out a Safety Hero certificate from the website and advertise the fact they've helped save their child from serious injury or death.
Katrina adds: "We know how busy parents are, and we've tried to make it simple. You don't have to don the superhero cape and swoop in - all you need to do to be a Safety Hero is understand the risks and that there are simple things you can do that are lifesavers."
For more information about the Safety Heroes campaign, visit www.childsafetyweek.org.uk ASK THE EXPERT: HOW CAN I GET SOME SLEEP? Q"I'VE just had a baby and am exhausted. How can I get more sleep when my nights are so broken up with her crying?" ADR Nerina Ramlakhan, a sleep expert for Silentnight beds, says: "Resting during the day will lessen the effects of sleep deprivation. Sometimes even a break of five to 10 minutes can be sufficient to enable the body to renew energy.
"It's inevitable that you'll be woken, sometimes repeatedly in the early days of your baby's life. Try to have everything on hand for a quick feed or nappy change and if you have to put a light on, use a low-level lamp.
"If you really can't get to sleep, allow yourself to just rest - you might be surprised how quickly you then get to sleep. Alternatively, get up and do something relaxing, like reading a book or having a warm drink.
"Try to get into a bedtime routine to prepare your body and mind for restful sleep. Listen to relaxing music and sip a milky caffeine-free drink, or relax in a bath.
"One of the hardest things to do when you're a new mum is to find time for exercise, but exercise helps reduce levels of adrenaline and other stress hormones, and boosts the production of hormones which repair the body. You'll spend more time in deep sleep if you've exercised, and even a 20-minute brisk walk is great.
"Caffeine and alcohol are stimulants - use sparingly if you're a new mum and your sleep is already being disrupted.
"Keep your sleep environment as free of clutter and baby's toys as you can, your bedroom should look and feel like your sanctuary."
Katrina Phillips of the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT)
Danger signs... Ensuring your children can't get into cupboards holding potentially harmful chemicals, keeping hot hair straighteners out reach and setting a good example of how to cross the road can all help keep our children safer says CAPT's chief executive Katrina Phillips
The new Safety Hero campaign, right, asks parents to take preventative steps like putting up baby gates to cut accident risks