Child Safety

Falls

Falls

Even falls from relatively low heights can result in serious injuries. As babies start to wriggle and roll, they can fall from beds and other furniture where they may have been placed for varied reasons including nappy changing. Crawling babies may be able to climb increasing the risk of falls.

The causes of fall accidents are not all the same. Some are a natural result of child development but others are due to adult actions
​(or inactions).

​Simple changes in adult’s practices can make a difference and highlight the need for implementing safety prevention measures.
Most falls occurred in the child’s own home involving furniture and stairs. 

After falls in ‘own home’ the highest falls injuries were incurred from bikes, trampolines, bouncy castles and general playground equipment.

​Since the themed campaign is being promoted as the days become lighter and warmer weather arrives, hence encouraging children to engage more in outdoor activities and families to visit play areas we are suggesting professionals focus on the secondary causes identified.

Trampolines

Key safety points
  • Children under 6 have limited physical development to control bouncing on a trampoline
  • Injuries can occur to all parts of the body, head and neck injuries are the most serious associated injuries. The most common injuries include sprains or fractures to the wrist, forearm, elbow and collarbone
  • Adult supervision is essential

Children can get hurt when they:
  • Land wrong trying stunts, flipping and doing somersaults (increases the risk of head and neck injuries)
  • Strike or are struck by another person
  • Fall or jump off the trampoline landing on springs or frame
  • Playing underneath when trampoline is in use
    
Before you buy
  • Choose a model with safety pads, and check that the pads cover the springs, hooks and frame. The colour of the pads should contrast with the frame
  • Consider models with safety netting as part of the design, or buy this at the same time. The safety netting should prevent the bouncers from hitting rigid component like springs or the frame
  • New trampolines should meet the European Standard EN71-14:2014 'Safety of toys – Trampolines for domestic use'

Where to put it
  • Place the trampoline on energy absorbing ground, such as a soft and springy lawn, or bark wood chip, sand or other cushioning material. Never place on concrete, tarmac or hard packed mud
  • If you do not have a net, keep a safe zone of 2.5metres, clear of objects on the ground and next to trees, washing lines, poles, glass frames and other hard items

Checking and keeping it safe
  • Ensure trampolines are tied down before use
  • Be sure to check the padding and nets are in place and that the spring and fixed-metal parts are covered

Rules for use
  • Take turns, one at a time! 60% of injuries occur with multiple users.
    ​The person weighing less is 5 times more likely to be injured
  • Don't allow somersault or risky complicated moves
  
Children should be supervised by ​an adult at all times

Cycling

Most children love to cycle, and it's great for their fitness and health. Once children are confident cycling they will want to push the boundaries, cycling further and faster. A few safety tips can help them be responsible cyclists. It’s easier to prevent accidents 
​when you understand what children are capable of.
How can we prevent cycle accidents?
  • Children struggle to judge speed and distance accurately? They also vary in how well they can control a bike and understand road safety. This means that a child is unlikely to be able to cycle safely in traffic without adult supervision until they are about 11 years old
  • Most children are ready to start cycling at around the age of 5. Their co-ordination has developed and they are able to learn quickly
  • Practical training like Bikeability is very important when children are old enough to learn the rules of the road (Green Cross Code) and understand the main dangers to look out for, The Department for Transport advices between the ages of 7 and 9
  • Parents should take care when near roads to reduce the risk of the child losing control or peddling on ahead then being unable to stop.

Safety First:
  • Is the bike the right size? • Tyres (are they well pumped up?) • Brakes (do both front and back work?) • Seat (is it at the right height?) • The reflector and lights (is the reflector correctly attached and do the lights work? It is illegal to ride at night without front and rear lights - riding at dusk or at night you must have white front lights and red back lights and reflector)) • Helmet (does it fit? Is it worn correctly?)
  • Bright coloured, reflective or fluorescent clothing helps children to be seen by other road users, especially in dull light or in poor weather
  • Find out where local cycle paths and lanes are
  • Adults who wear cycle helmets are positive role models
  • Children being transported in cycle seats on an adult bike should wear helmets. Having the extra weight on the bike can affect the balance and change the way an adult cycles. Suggest parents practice on quite roads or off the road before heading out on the highways
  • Get children used to helmets and a child seat from the start. All cyclists irrespective of age and where they cycle should wear correctly fitting helmets for every journey
  • Correctly fitting helmets help protect children from serious head injury, which can happen away from traffic as well as on the roads

Bouncy Castles

Before using inflatable play equipment parents are recommended to consider/check the following:

Anchorage
  • Bouncy castles require anchorage, check all anchorage points are secured and if situated on hard ground, mooring straps are fixed to solid points

Safe Surface
  • Use impact absorbing mats positioned at the open side of the bouncy castle, extending a sufficient distance forward to ensure maximum protection? (Mats may not be necessary on soft ground)

Supervision
  • At least one adult is required to be constantly supervising the children using the bouncy castle? At community venues/events check the attendant who is collecting money is not also the main supervisor

Overcrowding
  • Consider whether the bouncy castle seems overcrowded? If children are constantly knocking into each other, the attendant may not be following the maximum load recommendations and injuries occurring more likely

Age/Size
  • Avoid mixing larger/older children and smaller/younger children. Rotate group by age/size to avoid crushing and collisions

Avoid
  • Sharp articles of clothing like shoes, buckles and jewellery being worn.
  • Eating or drinking on equipment
  • Play items for example plastic swords, wands, balloons, glow sticks, plastic balls.
  • Horseplay – fun fighting including pushing/tripping
  • Holding children by arms/legs when they are bouncing or climbing on the bouncy castle walls may cause joint dislocation
  • Children climbing on the walls of the inflatable.

Playgrounds

It is estimated that there are approximately 40,000 injuries to children on playgrounds each year which result in a hospital visit and are caused by several reasons.

Management causes
  • poor equipment design or failure to comply to Standards
  • poor layout and spacing between equipment
  • unsuitable equipment for the intended age group
  • incorrect installation; poor inspection; poor maintenance
  • poor visibility for adequate adult supervision

User causes
  • lack of supervision
  • 'misuse' of equipment
  • unsuitable clothes (scarfs, belts can become entangled pulling child off balance.)
  • weather conditions

Not all accidents are related to the equipment, the majority are the result of a fall.

Playground choice
  • Pre-school children often have sectioned play areas with equipment suitable for their age
  • Older children should be encouraged to use equipment appropriate to their size
  • Select play equipment that is not standing on hard, unforgiving surfaces like concrete, asphalt, grass, soil and packed earth surfaces as weather and wear can reduce their capabilities to cushion a fall
  • Ensure the surface is free of standing water or debris that could cause a slip or trip such as tree roots, rocks, tree stumps
  • Look for surfaces sufficiently covered with items such as sand, shredded rubber or pea gravel. Wood chips are unsuitable as they contain chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treatment and pose a potential health hazard
  • No surface materials are considered safe if the combined height of playground and the child (standing on the highest platform) is higher than 12 feet
  • Cushioned surfaces should extend at least 6 feet beyond the equipment.

Supervision
  • Children under five should have constant adult supervision while on playground equipment
  • Young children and sometimes older can’t always gauge distance or height properly and are unable to foresee dangerous situations.