Parents urged to be aware of risks to unattended children

Councillor John Kelly.
Councillor John Kelly.
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Parents in Sunderland are being reminded of the risks of leaving their little ones unsupervised as part of Family Safety Week, which is taking place this week.

The national initiative, which aims to keep children safe in and around the home, is calling on parents and carers to look out for risks they may not have spotted, after statistics revealed that accidents are the main cause of death for children and young people across the UK.

The campaign places a particular focus on under fives in the home, with more than 450,000 children within this age group attending emergency departments in the UK each year. Of that number, 40,000 are admitted to hospital as a result of an accident in and around the home.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the dangers that lurk within the home for tots, including falls, burns, scalds and poisonings by medicine or cleaning products that have not been locked away. The campaign is being supported by Sunderland City Council, who will be tweeting out top tips and advice through their social media accounts.

Councillor John Kelly, portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture said that prevention was far greater than cure, when it comes to keeping young people safe.

Coun Kelly said: “As a parent myself, I know only too well how easy it is to turn around for a moment, and find that – by the time you turn back – your little one had bumped their head, or fallen over.

“While some accidents are unavoidable, for the most part, it is possible to prevent accidents in the home, particularly by spotting potential hazards and dealing with them before they cause an issue.

“Accident prevention can save lives and reduce injuries and while we recognise we won’t be able to stop every accident from taking place, we hope that – by drawing attention to Family Safety Week, we can share tips that may reduce the number of avoidable accidents in the city.”

One of the key things the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents recommends is that parents and carers get down on their knees on the floor and take a look around from a child’s perspective.

Coun Kelly added: “It sounds simple, but the world looks very different from a child’s height, and often hazards that adults would never consider start to become very clear, so getting on your knees and looking at the world in a new way can help you spot dangers.

The key thing though is supervision – every parent will need to turn away at some point, but keeping a careful eye on your little one really is the best way to keep them safe.”

Family Safety Week is running from March 7 to 11 and parents can access fact sheets and advice to help them keep their family safe at www.familysafetyweek.org.uk