As the UK experiences ongoing hot weather here is our definitive guide to summer safety:
If you’ve got young children, keep low furniture away from windows so that they can’t climb up and fall out – even on the ground floor. It’s a good idea to install window catches (to limit how far they can open) and locks if you can.
If you have a garden, remember that babies and toddlers can drown in as little as 5cm (2”) of water, so supervision around ponds and paddling pools is essential. It’s a very good idea to get into the habit of emptying paddling pools when young children have finished playing in them.
Think about your neighbours’ gardens too – young children can wander off into them and drown in garden ponds, even if you don’t think they have access.
As a rule, only allow one person on at any one time. The large majority of accidents happen when two or more people are on a trampoline, and generally, it is the lighter person (such as a child) who will be injured as a result. While it might seem like good fun, adults who are under the influence of alcohol should not on in any circumstances join their children on a trampoline.
Teach children never to eat plants or berries they have picked in the garden or out and about in the countryside, without checking with an adult first. CAPT’s leaflet How safe is your child in the garden? has a full list of common poisonous plants, and first aid advice if you do suspect a child has ingested something poisonous.
Lock garden tools away in a shed or other secure area, and never leave electrical equipment plugged in when not in use. Keep chemicals such as weed killer and fertiliser out of reach of young children, and always keep them in their original containers – never be tempted to transfer them to food jars or drinks bottles.
A barbecue can stay hot enough to cause a serious contact burn for a long time after they’ve been used (and the barbecue chef has long abandoned it to relax!). All barbecues produce carbon monoxide which is fine outdoors, but is deadly poisonous in an enclosed space. Never take a lit or smouldering one inside a house, tent, caravan, or boat.
Out in the sun? Sunburn doesn’t often cause serious accidental injury to children. But it’s important to protect children from sunburn due to the long-term damage it can cause.
Sadly, each year there are avoidable drowning incidents during the summer months. It’s not just young children at risk. Older children and teenagers who are competent swimmers can still get into trouble and be at risk of drowning.
In the UK, incidents of drowning from swimming in inland water are more common than those in the sea. Abroad, in the past six years, 30 children from the UK have drowned whilst on holiday.
Don’t assume hotel pools have lifeguards – provision and legislation varies, and lifeguards may have other duties. Also don’t assume that your child will shout or scream if they’re in trouble. Drowning happens silently.
Holiday lets and hotels
It might sound obvious, but remember to exercise the same caution in holiday accommodation that you do at home.
- Keep medicines and cleaning things out of children’s reach.
- Move furniture away from windows, and if your let or hotel room has a balcony, ensure young children are supervised.
- Tie blind cords out of reach of young children.
- Children under six shouldn’t sleep on the top bunk of a bunk bed.
- Check the smoke alarms are working when you arrive. We also highly recommend an audible carbon monoxide alarm.
Camping, caravanning, motor homes, camper vans and boats
There have been a number of carbon monoxide (CO) deaths related to caravans and boats. If accommodation has a fuel-burning appliance, it’s important to get it serviced regularly and, have an audible carbon monoxide alarm. Again, if you’re renting, take one along with you.
NEVER take a lit barbecue or disposable barbecue into a caravan, boat, motor home or any enclosed space – not even a tent. Tents might seem well ventilated, but they’re not.