More than two million children under the age of 15 are treated in A&E units every year following accidents in and around the home. Many more are treated by GPs and by parents and carers. Over 76,000 children under the age of 14 are admitted for treatment and many thousands are left permanently disabled or disfigured. Slip and fall accidents account for the majority of non-fatal accidents while the highest numbers of deaths are due to fire.
In response to these statistics the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) launched Family Safety Week in 2014, to provide tips, advice, support and resources to help people protect their loved ones from accidents; highlighting the ways in which many accidents can be prevented through increased awareness, improvements in the home environment and greater product safety.
Since those most at risk from a home accident are in the under-five age group, with at least one child killed every week, Family Safety Week 2017, sees the safety charity focusing on keeping these under-fives safe, both at home and on the move and encourages families to come together to prevent unnecessary accidents.
Rebecca Hickman, RoSPA's campaigns manager, said:
“Family Safety Week 2017 is all about bringing people together to learn lessons, have fun and prevent unnecessary accidents. We want to make sure that parents have the skills and knowledge necessary to prevent the distress and heartbreak accidents to children cause.”
“The home is the place that we expect children to be the safest but sadly accidents involving children continue to devastate lives with those under five particularly at risk. It is a sad fact that half of under-fives attend A&E every year following an accident that did not have to happen, with children from disadvantaged families being most at risk."
“We hope that through Family Safety Week we can raise awareness of the fact that accidents are the biggest killer of children and young people, but that there are also some simple steps we can all take to prevent them.”
A child injury prevention researcher from the University of Nottingham, Professor Denise Kendrick, said she was saddened by the knowledge that preventable accidents to the most vulnerable members of society, babies, toddlers and children under five, led to A&E attendances, hospital admission and death.
Free posters covering top tips for safer bed and bath times, meal times, play and travel are available for parents and carers to download from the RoSPA website. There are also activity sheets, which include safety-themed word searches and spot the difference games. A Facebook Live session in conjunction with Netmums was planned.
Many businesses also pledged their support for the annual event by running their own Family Safety Awareness campaigns to help spread the word among staff and their families.