The following list should act as a guide to help you to do everything you can to keep your children as safe as they can be. For further information, check out the Child Accident Prevention Trust website.
Choking and suffocation
Store small objects away from babies and small children who are likely to try to eat them!
Remove all strings and ribbons that could easily become wound around a small child's neck.
Keep peanuts well out of reach of little hands as they are common causes of choking.
Store polythene bags out of childrens' reach.
Burns and scalds
Ensure you have working smoke detectors fitted throughout the house and test them regularly.
Work out an emergency fire drill for the household to follow in the event of a fire.
Keep old style electrical kettle flexes short - or upgrade to the new coiled style to keep them away from curious little hands.
Fix an approved fire guard to the wall of all open fires including gas, electric and fuel stoves.
Use the back rings of your cooker whenever you can and always turn pan handles away so that they do not hang over the front of the cooker - and fit a cooker hob guard.
Use a playpen, cot or high chair (with restraints) to keep your child safe while cooking.
Keep your child at a safe distance when you're drinking or carrying hot drinks, and keep mugs, cups and teapots out of reach.
Avoid using tablecloths when there is hot food on breakable objects on the table.
Run the cold tap first in the bath and test the temperature before your child gets in. Be especially careful when your child is big enough to get into the bath without help and can play with the taps.
Turn down the hot water thermostat to 54C or 130F to avoid scalds.
Always cover hot water bottles to prevent burns and remove them from the bed before your child gets in.
Put bouncing chairs on the floor rather than a table or worktop.
Do you have a properly fixed stair gate or barrier, preferably at both the top and bottom of your stairs?
Have you checked the rails round your landing and balconies? Could your child fall through, crawl under, climb over? Horizontal railings are especially dangerous.
Do you have safety catches or locks on your upstairs windows to stop your child falling out? Are you sure you wont be locked or nailed in if there is a fire?
Low-level glass in doors and windows is dangerous, especially once your child is on the move. Have you boarded it up, fitted safety film, or safety glass.
Keep all sharp things somewhere safe (away from children).
Make sure your children never walk around holding anything made of glass or with anything like a pencil or lollipop stick in their mouths.
lock all alcohol and medicines away or stored them high up, out of sight and where the child cant climb.
Are your medicines in child-resistant containers? In other peoples houses watch out for dangers like tablets in drawers and handbags.
Are your household and garden chemicals in a safe place, high up, or locked away? Some chemicals are sold with child-resistant caps. Make sure you replace the cap properly after use.
Are you sure there are no dangerous liquids in a bottle or jar that could make them look like drink?
Are you teaching your children not to eat any plants, fungi, berries or seeds?
If you use surma on your childs eyes, is it one of the safe, lead-free brands? Talk to your pharmacist. Some surma can be dangerous.
Are your electric sockets covered by heavy furniture or safety covers when not in use?
Have you repaired all worn flexes?
Are you careful not to plug too many appliances into one socket?
Do you know you should never leave a baby or young child under four alone in the bath for a moment? If the phone or doorbell rings, take your child with you, or let it ring.
Is your garden pond covered or fenced off? Never leave your child alone near water.
Does your child know how to swim? Children who can swim are safer, but it is still no guarantee of safety, so you should still keep a close watch when your children are near water.
Do you know the law?
Its illegal to carry an unrestrained child in the front seat.
Its illegal to carry an unrestrained child if there is a suitable restraint in the car.
If theres a child restraint in the front but not in the back then children under three must use it.
If theres an adult restraint in the front but not in the back children over three years must use it.
You can only carry unrestrained passengers if there are more passengers than seat belts.
In general, its safer for a child over three to use an adult belt than not to use a belt at all. Children should never be allowed to travel in the back of a hatchback (unless it has been specially adapted and fitted with seat belts) or to stand in a moving car.
Do you have a rear-facing baby seat or a special restraint system for your carrycot?
Do you have a child safety seat for toddlers?
Do you have a booster cushion for bigger children to use with an adult safety belt?
Do you always make sure you get your children out of the car on the pavement side?
If you have air bags fitted to your car, do you make sure your baby always travels in the back seat?
In a growing number of areas there are loan schemes for baby safety seats. Through these schemes, you can get the seats more cheaply. Some schemes are run by local maternity hospitals. Or ask your midwife, health visitor, or road safety officer.
Never let a child on or near roads alone. Young children dont understand the danger of traffic.
Hold your childs hand when youre near roads. Walking reins are useful for toddlers.
Teach your child to cross roads safely by always crossing safely yourself and explaining what youre doing. Dont expect any child under the age of eight to cross a road alone.
Parents are often very worried about the possibility that their child will be abducted or murdered by a stranger. In fact this is a rare occurrence compared, for example, with the risk of a traffic accident. Nevertheless its sensible to teach your children the following.
Never go with anyone (even someone they know well) without telling the grown-up who is looking after them.
If someone they dont know tries to take them away, its OK to scream and kick.
Tell your children always to tell you if theyve been approached by someone they dont know.
Make sure your child knows what to do if he or she is lost.
In a crowded place, its safest to stand still and wait to be found.
go into a shop and tell someone behind the counter;
tell someone who has other children with them.
Teach your child his or her address and phone number or the phone number of some other responsible person.
Safety in the sun
The amount of sun your child is exposed to may increase his or her risk of skin cancer later in life. Do the following to protect your child.
Keep your child out of the sun between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is highest and most dangerous.
Keep babies under the age of six months out of the sun altogether.
Make the most of shade, e.g trees.
Dont let your child run around all day in a swimsuit or without any clothes on.
Cover your child up in loose baggy cotton clothes such as an oversized T-shirt with sleeves.
In particular, protect your childs shoulders and back of neck when playing, as these are the most common areas for sunburn.
Let your child wear a legionnaires hat or a floppy hat with a wide brim that shades the face and neck.
Cover exposed parts of your childs skin with a sunscreen, even on cloudy or overcast days. Use one with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above and which is effective against UVA and UVB. Re-apply often.
Protect your childs eyes with sunglasses with an ultraviolet filter, made to British Standard 2724.
Use waterproof sunblock if your child is swimming.