Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to commonly asked questions about child safety and the work we do to reduce the number of children and young people killed, disabled or seriously injured in accidents.

Do hot water bottles expire?2023-02-23T16:18:54+00:00

Old hot water bottles can break and cause serious burns. So, it is advised to regularly check for signs of wear and tear and not use hot water bottles that are more than two years old.

This flower symbol, found on hot water bottles, indicates exactly when it was made.

Hot water bottle flower symbol

The number in the middle is the year it was made, the flower segments represent the 12 months of the year and the dots inside those represent the number of weeks. So this hot water bottle was made in April 2021.

Learn more about burns and scalds

If you think a child has swallowed a button battery should you give them honey?2023-02-23T16:18:48+00:00

Studies in animals have shown that coating a button battery in honey can slow down the reaction of the battery inside the animal’s food pipe. This raises the question of whether to give a child honey if they accidentally swallow a button battery.

The answer isn’t straightforward. Here’s why:

  • It takes a lot of honey to slow the reaction – 2 spoonfuls every 10 minutes. Which may not be possible if your child is not willing to eat anything or is being sick.
  • Giving this much honey may make your child sick – which wouldn’t be helpful in this situation.
  • If your child needs general anaesthetic to remove the battery, it’s not ideal if they’ve had anything to eat or drink.
  • Honey shouldn’t be given to children under 1.
  • If you don’t have runny honey to hand, a few minutes delay trying to find honey and get your child to take it means delay getting to emergency doctors who can help.

So, the advice from doctors in the UK is, unless you have a long distance to the nearest A&E, getting to hospital as quickly as possible is the number one priority.

Learn what to do in an emergency

What age should you stop cutting up grapes?2023-02-28T15:13:52+00:00

It’s advised to cut up grapes for children up to five, as they have small airways that can easily be blocked by a grape.

But primary school children may still have small airways, though they’re better at chewing and swallowing.

That’s why there’s no fixed cut-off age for cutting up children’s grapes.

You know your child best. Do they sit down still to eat? Do they chew their food properly? Do they eat quickly when distracted, excited or in a rush?

If in doubt, give yourself peace of mind and cut them up.

Learn more about why grapes are so dangerous

Is it safe to use a bed guard for my toddler?2023-02-23T16:18:25+00:00

Toddler beds will usually be low enough to the ground not to be a serious fall risk if a child does fall out of bed.

You can keep a clear space next to the toddler bed so there’s no risk of a child hitting their head if they do fall out of bed.

Bear in mind that children should only move up to a toddler bed when they are old enough or they’re starting to climb out of their cot which is causing a fall risk.

If you are going to use a bed guard:

  • Ensure the bed guard is made to standard BS7972:2001+A1:2009. If it isn’t, don’t use it.
  • Only use bed guards made to this standard for children 18months to 5 years.
  • Make sure it is fitted exactly to the fitting instructions. If there are no instructions, don’t use it.
  • If there’s any doubt about the suitability of the bed guard you’re fitting, don’t use it.
  • Always leave 250mm on each side once it’s fitted to avoid strangulation risks from smaller gaps.

If you use a bed guard on an adult bed, there’s a risk the child can fall either side of the guard or even fall climbing over it.

What is the safest set up for transitioning to a toddler bed?2024-03-18T14:37:12+00:00

It is very important that, for any sleep surface used for a child under the age of about 4 years, the bed is arranged in such a way that it is not possible for the child to become wedged between the bed and another object – such as the wall or another piece of furniture.

It is not possible to describe every potentially risky setting, but if there is a potential gap into which a small child might wriggle and get stuck this is something to think about and avoid.

You may want to consider how heavy is the toddler bed – is your child able to push it away from the wall? Is the mattress very deep creating a deep gap between the mattress and the wall?

Ideally the bed and the mattress are snug against the wall and the bed is not easily moved with little force.

What date is Child Safety Week 2024?2024-03-18T14:26:25+00:00

Child Safety Week 2024 is 3rd to 9th June. Learn more.

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