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Child Safety Week 2020 – under lockdown

29th May 2020

In the build up to Child Safety Week 2020, we are delighted to share a guest blog by Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive of Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT).

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive, Child Accident Prevention Trust

It’s almost the first week of June and, in normal times, many health visitors and their teams would be finalising activities and events for Child Safety Week, the Child Accident Prevention Trust’s annual community education campaign.

But these aren’t normal times. Social distancing means no face-to-face events this year. Some health visitors have been redeployed, leaving teams short-staffed. And support to families is, of necessity, being delivered in very different ways, often through phone calls or digital communications.

We did briefly debate whether Child Safety Week should still go ahead on 1 June. But we quickly realised all the ways in which injury risks to children may be heightened as the pandemic puts families under pressure.

We already know that over 80% of serious accidents to under-fives happen in the home. That the poorest children are at greatest risk of death and serious injury. And that children living in overcrowded homes are three times more likely to be injured in preventable accidents.

We recognised how difficult lockdown would be for parents of small children, especially those living in cramped homes or with no gardens or outside space. Then add to that the mental toll from financial worries, caring for children, the endless round of cooking and cleaning, plus trying to keep on top of their own paid work if parents can work from home.

So we decided that lockdown shouldn’t stop the flow of essential safety advice to families. In fact, it made it even more important. And we adapted our plans to fit the times.

We developed a range of new easy-to-share content – articles, fact sheets, social media posts and illustrations – that practitioners can use in their communications with parents.

So far, there are top tips on moving harmful things like button batteries out of reach plus advice on preventing poisons and burns.

Recognising that parents of small children may be feeling overwhelmed, our Parents Pack offers simple tips that can still make a big difference to children’s safety. We want parents to feel they can at least win against accidents, even if everything else feels out of their control.

With the plethora of cleaning products and painkillers in our homes right now, small children may be exposed to potential poisons. So we are very pleased to support iHV’s new Parent Tips on preventing accidental poisoning that is being launched in Child Safety Week.

These are difficult times for families and the professionals and charities who support them. But we have been humbled by the determination we’ve seen to support and engage with families in need.

If you can, please share our advice and follow us on social media. Sign up, so you’re alerted to more free content as soon as it becomes available. This will include a reworked Action Pack, offering support for year-round activities and events once face-to-face work with parents is possible once again.

Here at CAPT, we recognise how the profession is providing crucial support to families at this difficult time. We’re really grateful for your help in keeping children safe and for iHV’s continuing support for child accident prevention.

Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive, Child Accident Prevention Trust