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Falls are the most widespread accidents amongst children. 60% are below the age of 5 and almost as many are boys. Most severe accidents are associated with falling from windows, balconies and stairs, particularly where they land on concrete paths and stone surfaces. The second most common accidents amongst children occur when they bump into people, things or are hurt by falling objects.
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Very young children are unsteady and vulnerable to tripping and falling over. Although it is impossible to predict what can happen, familiarise yourself with your child's abilities to prevent accidents.
New safety guidelines are needed to prevent the rise in trampoline-related injuries
A recent rise in the number of accidents involving trampolines is giving the government cause for concern. 10% of childhood fractures have been caused by trampoline related accidents in the last two years. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents report that 11,500 people were injured by trampoline incidents in the UK since 2002. Over the last five years the number of these injuries have doubled due to the enormous increase in popularity and sales.
The recommendations include:
- Follow the basic safety rules.
- Only one person at a time should be allowed on a trampoline. Approximately 75% of injuries occur when there is more than one person using it. The younger child is more vulnerable to injury.
- All children should be supervised and wear protective clothing.
- Any exposed metalwork or hard plastic should be padded.
- Somersaults and complex manoeuvres should be discouraged or made safer by digging the trampoline into a pit at ground level.
- Padding should be put on the ground or extra circumferential netting added.
Take a few precautions within the home to secure your child's safety.
- Keep furniture and children's beds away from open windows where a very young child could climb out.
- For very young children use firegaurds to prevent them falling onto a fire.
- Teach your children the dangers of playing on stairs. Keep a night light in the hall and close to the stairs. Keep clutter from these areas. Make sure handrails are sturdy.
- Make sure children wear cycle helmets whilst riding bikes.
- The use of baby walkers is not widely recommended because they have been found not to encourage walking and very often involve head injuries and falls. Clear evidence now shows that they can hinder the development of your child.
- Young children below the age of six should not be allowed to sleep on bunk beds.
- It is sometimes a good idea to keep furniture in the way of a glass door to avoid a child falling through the glass.
- Children like to climb and may very often fall. Safeguard this by providing soft surfaces, such as bark chippings, sand or grass, for children to climb above. Teach them to avoid the dangers of climbing high up, on roofs and balconies.
- Active play and running around is healthy for a child's development, but increases the possiblity of accidents. Teach them to be aware of rushing through a kitchen of hot pans and ovens.
- Above all, THINK, and be observant.
Safety from Windows
Falls often occur when a child leans out of an open window, often caused by a natural curiosity. It is recommended that no more than five inches space should be left open because that's about the width an average 10 month old could fall through.