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Health Visitors are safety heroes

17th October 2013

Every hour, four children under five years old are admitted to hospital with serious accidental injuries. Falls from heights, burns and scalds, and road accidents can have a lifelong impact on a child and their family.  Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) aims to help secure a safer environment for children and young people, free from accidental death, disability and serious injury.  At CAPT, we support health visitors and acknowledge their contributions to provide parents with the information and confidence to understand the importance of child safety.

Health visitors are in a unique position to share accident prevention messages with parents. The health visitor is one of the first professionals, after baby is born, who will begin to have conversations about safety awareness.  Parents, especially first time parents, are usually very receptive to new information, particularly if it is presented by a health professional.  Health visitors are well positioned to influence behaviour as they have regular contacts with families and can reinforce safety messages at every opportunity. As well as raising safety issues at universal contacts, such as the child development checks, and during targeted follow-up after accident and emergency attendances, health visitors can provide highly effective safety advice to parents while they are attending weigh-in, breastfeeding clinics, health checks and other activities.   

Accidents happen in the split second usually when the parent has their back turned for a moment just as their child reaches for a hot drink or when the child does something unexpected such as roll off the changing table for the first time.  Children grow and change so rapidly parents are often taken by surprise by what their child is capable of or suddenly able to do, that they weren’t just days or weeks before.  Again, health visitors have contacts with families at various points in a child’s development so can make parents aware of accident prevention before children hit various milestones.  

To find all you need to know about accident prevention and how CAPT can support health visitors go to www.capt.org.uk