Activities and events are the cornerstone of Child Safety Week.
We’ve had some great feedback from previous Scottish event holders about the impact it has had on parents and on partnership working:
“The best thing about Child Safety Week is how different organisations come together to deliver a valuable service to families”
– Families First Project, Glasgow
“Parents said they were more aware of risks to young children, e.g. the length of time hot drinks and hair straighteners remained hot. They said they changed things at home to prevent accidents.”
Ardgour Nursery, Fort William
Here are examples of events held during previous Child Safety Weeks to give you some more ideas for your own events and activities.
Rebecca Quelch, Nursery Nurse/Healthcare Support Worker, Children and Families Health Team, Mid-Argyll Community Hospital
Rebecca first got involved in Child Safety Week three years ago with a display in the foyer of the community hospital. Her activities have developed to include interactive props and visual aids that attract parents and children alike. For Child Safety Week 2018 she took her activities out into the community.
“I had a child safety session in the local youth centre and advertised it on social media, in schools, nurseries and public buildings. I had practical demonstrations, leaflets, kids and adult activities and did the Bitrex Taste Test challenge.”
Rebecca made excellent use of the support and resources available to Child Safety Week organisers, as well as adding her own:
“I find the Child Safety Week resources very useful and have laminated the fact sheets from the action pack to use as an information booklet for parents as each topic is summarised and the colour/pictures are better to look at than just plain typed paper. I used the theme and poster to encourage people to share what they had learned and that we all need to take responsibility for child safety, not just mothers.”
“Having practical demonstrations and things to touch as well as look at works well. I put a button battery on a slice of bacon an hour before the session to demonstrate the dangers. I had examples of child bicycle helmets, knee pads, reins, wrist straps etc for parents to try out. I also had a doll drowning in 5cm of water and a doll with a nappy sack over her face, I feel these have more impact than just words or pictures.”
Commenting on how Child Safety Week has supported her to get involved and develop her activities, Rebecca said:
“Child Safety Week encourages me a lot as it reminds me to organise something and it gives me new information and encouragement.”
“Since I first began I feel that I have a lot more knowledge and statistics to back up my interest in accident prevention – partly due to CAPT plus the other research I have done while preparing displays. I also try to keep up-to-date with new dangers and current news stories so that I can keep my work relevant and interesting.”
On her motivation for putting in all the hard work over the years, Rebecca says:
“So many child injuries and deaths can be prevented by people taking more care and practitioners like us sharing our knowledge of potential dangers. In my many years working with children at nursery and in their own homes, I have seen many potential accidents and accidents which could have been prevented. If I could save one life it is all worth it.”
Alex Scrimgeour, Safer Community Warden, Aberdeenshire Council
Aberdeenshire Council has a working partnership agreement with the fire and rescue service, police service and NHS on community safety including child safety. The team of safer community wardens act as the first point of contact for the community. This was the first time the team had taken part in Child Safety Week.
The week saw a programme of talks with children at Rosehearty Primary and Nursery School, a local Kidz Club, a beavers and scouts group and Westfield School – a school with for children with additional support needs. The community is diverse, including many foreign national families, so they reached children from a wide cross-section of the community.
The talks introduced children to the role of community safety warden, and raised issues around safe driving such as use of mobile phones and parking on school zig zags, plus fire safety, safety around fireworks etc. The talks with the children and the feedback they gave helped to inform the team about some of the issues common to family life that they might focus their work on, such as parents driving and using mobile phones.
The team found the Child Safety Week action pack really useful as a guide to different aspects of child safety. They found the downloadable resources useful too:
“Especially the wordsearch and the colouring-in – every child we spoke to got one of those!”
To reach parents, Alex has set up the team’s Facebook and Twitter pages and used the Child Safety Week social media pack to share information about accident prevention. He also retweeted and shared the CAPT posts.
The team plans to continue their work on child safety. They will be visiting another five schools to deliver their talk about community safety and accident prevention, and will have reached around 1,000 children by the end of the five talks.
Kirsty Docherty, Parenting Officer, HMP Polmont Young Offenders Institution
Following a very successful event last year, the parenting team at Polmont Young Offenders Institution decided they wanted to get involved in Child Safety Week again. They made a successful application to the prison’s Common Good Fund for the budget to run the event.
The event was held for all parents within HMPYOI Polmont and was run in conjunction with the fire and rescue service, road safety and the NHS.
The parenting team set up an interactive hazard perception test. It featured a kitchen area and a bedroom area with various hazards to spot such as button batteries, grapes that weren’t cut up, handles overhanging the cooker etc.
The fire service showed clips on planning an escape route, and the dangers of phone chargers, washing machines etc. Kirsty covered basic first aid for children. Road safety showed a video on collisions and talked about seat belt safety. Kirsty said:
“They really liked it. Some of the boys who’ve not had engagement with their children, perhaps because they’ve not got access, came when they wouldn’t normally. And because they came along and they enjoyed it, they’ve started engaging with us.
“There were some people who are in for road traffic crime so that bit was quite hard-hitting for them to watch. So there was a lot of reflection going on as well.”
The parents were made more aware of the common risks within a home and how they could prevent serious injury or death to their families. Some fed back that they do a lot of the things that could cause an injury to a child and started to think of ways to change this.
The partnership work helped make the event more impactful for the young parents. And Kirsty says that Child Safety Week helped the parenting team at Polmont to cement relationships with their partners:
“It was great to have the partners all in together in the same place, because they normally only come in individually. It was good to work collaboratively to get the same messages across.”
Margot MacKenzie, Senior Co-ordinator, Home-Start Edinburgh West and South West
Home-Start Edinburgh West and South West is a charity that provides support to families with at least one child under 5. While recognising the pressures that being a parent creates for everyone, they place a particular emphasis on supporting parents for whom illness, stress or financial worries makes parenting feel even more difficult and overwhelming.
Home-Start Edinburgh West and South West have long appreciated the value of involvement in Child Safety Week for the families they support:
“I’d really encourage more people to buy into opportunities like Child Safety Week. Because more and more we have to demonstrate that we are all working together. We’ve got the community links and CAPT provide such a good support.”
Margot and the team made good use of props for their group session with families. There was a fake kitchen in one area with pan handles hanging over the cooker, knives near the edge of the sink, an empty box of washing capsules under the kitchen sink and a washing machine with the door open.
They set up a plate of ham with a button battery in it to show how it burns through the ham and the potential damage it can do to a child’s throat. There was a small table with a baby bouncer on it and a handbag with an empty packet of paracetamol in it.
They used a baby bath with three levels drawn on it to discuss how little water it takes for a baby to drown. And they used a doll in a Babygro to illustrate just how much of a baby’s body a hot drink can burn if spilt on them.
They put CAPT posters next to the relevant props and CAPT’s picture book series was available for people to look at. Margot had also put together a top tips crib sheet picking up a number of points from the Child Safety Week action pack.
“We went round the room and got people to point out the hazards they could see around the room. We had a hazard for each of the points on the tips sheet. We tried to get across the point that, if we think things through, accidents can be prevented.”
The families shared stories about things that had happened to them. One mother was very motivated to go home and check for risks to be avoided:
“I will be more systematic about baby-proofing each room – it’s easy to overlook something. And I will continue to do it as my child grows.”
Margot and her team also organised a multi-agency event in partnership with the police, fire service, Barnardo’s, Families Outside and Bitrex, and invited local families and schools to attend. The aims of the event were to make safety part of everyday behaviour, help children and families feel more confident that they know the risks and how different agencies can help them keep children safe, and also that agencies work better together.
One of the primary schools wanted to do more so Margot sent them a link to the Child Safety Week resources, helping to widen the reach beyond those attending the event. Safety messages also went out to their existing PEEP (Peers Early Education Partnership) groups.
In terms of on-going work and future involvement in Child Safety Week, Margot and the team are keen to continue this:
“I’d like to do something again next year – it’s important for us to do something every year. Safety for our families is oneof the options we can talk about. If they want help, then we’ve got the tools through CAPT to do that. We are also developing more parent volunteers who are taking on roles running groups, so hopefully we can have more support for this work.”
Alex Collop, Project Manager Circle Haven Project, Edinburgh
The Project has a contract with Edinburgh Council to cover the Forth neighbourhood, including areas of multiple deprivation such as Muirhouse and Pilton which are both in the top 5-10% of deprivation in the country.
Their work focuses on early years and they offer specific support for fathers who may be directly involved with parenting or on the periphery of the family.
They also run an outreach programme for families with complex needs. Child safety forms a central element of this, with safety equipment being put into homes of families in particular need as well as replacing faulty or dangerous white goods etc.
Explaining why they got involved in Child Safety Week, Project Manager Alex Collop says:
“We are a relatively small charity and there are always lots of competing pressures, but Child Safety Week fits into our approach and what parents are requesting from us.”
“Child Safety Week gave us a process to follow and activities to get behind. It was a good means to raise awareness amongst parents. One of the fundamental issues we try to address is confidence in parenting and one of the key building blocks of this is feeling safe and having the information to ensure your child is safe.”
Sessions with parents
The Circle Haven Project ran a session for parents focusing on different ages and stages of children. There were tables set up covering baby, toddler and young child issues included props, CAPT resources and the CAPT session plan cards.
The session plan cards were used to help stimulate discussion amongst the parents and the props helped to serve as a conversation starter, all drawing on the wider theme of Sharing is Caring. The hair straightener pouches were particularly popular and led to discussion around the dangers of hair straighteners.
There were two sessions for each age and stage of child development, so parents were able to rotate and had an opportunity to look at relevant age issues.
Project Manager, Alex Collop said about the resources:
“The session plan packs are great. They just fit into what we are doing so well. It’s not too prescribed so gives support but allows freedom in how you deliver the session.”
Annabelle Ewing, former Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, joined the discussion with families during Child Safety Week and heard about the work of the Circle Haven Project and partner organisation Stepping Stones Nursery.
Stepping Stones Nursery also partnered the Circle Haven Project for Child Safety Week. Stepping Stones focus on younger parents and offer a different model of support, but there is overlap between the families Haven and Stepping Stones reach, which has led to stronger partnership working.
On-going child safety work
Alex’s colleague Julie has introduced child safety into the topic of weaning after finding parents were so concerned about choking there were some 14 month olds still only on purees and no solid food.
The project fundraised to be able to deliver baby first aid sessions. These had a big impact on parents who then felt much more confident to safely move to solids. The intention is for these sessions to continue.
Alex is intending on being involved with Child Safety Week again next year as it fits so well with their programme and given the high levels of inequalities and accident rates within households in their area. They have other partner organisations they will disseminate information to for next year and hope to develop the work.