/ Parenting

Take a second look for your child’s safety

Child reaching for hob

Do you get through the day on autopilot? A surprising eight out of ten of us do, according to our research for this week’s Child Safety Week – so why aren’t we in the habit of making simple safety checks for our kids?

Whether it’s locking the front door or making a cup of tea, many of our daily actions are such deeply embedded habits, we don’t even think about doing them – we just do them on autopilot.

Sometimes we don’t even remember doing them.

Child safety – the stark statistics

In stark contrast, of the 2,000 parents who took part in our survey, more than half confessed that child safety habits were not automatically part of their everyday routines. For example:

  • Only 4 in 10 parents automatically moved a cup of tea out of reach of small children.
  • Only 1 in 5 automatically strapped their child into their highchair.
  • Only 1 in 7 automatically tied up their blind cords.

Every day, up to 45 children are rushed to hospital with burns with hot drinks. A toddler who falls from her highchair can suffer brain damage. Last year, five toddlers were strangled in blind cords.

So do our findings mean we’re a nation unconcerned with children’s safety? Of course not. In fact, 70% of parents said they worry that their child will have a serious accident one day.

Why aren’t simple safety steps part of our routines?

First of all, parents often aren’t aware of the hazards. Is that cup of tea on the coffee table really a ‘dangerous’ weapon’? What about the blind cords dangling innocently at the window? And is strapping your baby into their highchair really going to make a difference? It’s easy to overlook these potentially dangerous situations.

Second is the surprise factor. So many easily preventable accidents happen when parents are taken by surprise, because their child has done something they had no idea they could do, like pushing themselves up and out of their highchair or making a successful grab for a cup of tea.

That’s why, during Child Safety Week this week, we are asking parents to take a second look for safety, to check whether accident prevention is part of your everyday routine. And, if it’s not, to consciously develop new safety habits and repeat them until they become something you do ‘on autopilot’.

The sad fact is that 120,000 children and young people are hospitalised every year as a result of accidents, many of which could have been prevented. So take a second look and ask yourself what safety habits you can adopt.

Katrina Phillips is the Chief Executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust.


As someone who had lots of accidents as a child, what ever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!! 🙂

My serious views on this issue may be controversial and insulting to some, so I will abstain. Carry on the good work though

kath says:
21 June 2011

I was born in 1970 so grew up in the carefree days of being able to play in the streets, slide down the bannisters from the top floor of our house, ride a bike without a helmet etc etc etc. I now have 2 kids under 4 and have basically tried to protect them both but theres only so much you can do. When my eldest girl had just started toddling around the furniture I left the room and also left my new cup of tea on the coffee rable. I re-entered the room in time to see my daughter grabbing the cup and pulling it towards her. Thankfully, I managed to get to her before she tipped it over herself but it made me more aware of where I place things. Unfortunately, we cant shadow them but we can make their home environment safe.

Emily says:
21 June 2011

Isn’t this very same ‘auto pilot’ the reason behind otherwise good parents leaving a child to die in a hot car?

We’ve got blinds in our kitchen – I’ve heard of accidents happening with blind cords before but had never really thought to tie them out of reach. Reading this has made me realise that I should – it’s such a small action but something that could make a real difference with kids in the house.