Early Years Calendar: Child Safety Week
7th-13th June 2021
Child Safety Week is organised every year by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT). Its purpose is to bring attention to a variety of child-focused accidents to promote safer environments for children. This year, between the 7th and 13th of June, the focal point is accidents associated with burns and scalds.
Most people will experience some form of burn in their lifetime, whether it be from spilling a hot drink, getting sunburnt or catching their arm on the oven, but burns among children can have lifelong, devastating effects.
A child who receives a serious injury from a burn can not only suffer from extremely severe scarring but will also spend long durations of time in hospital, missing out of time with family and their education. Little bodies can be unbelievably resilient but where an injury on an adult might result in a brutal scar, the same injury on a child can be fatal.
Child Safety is of paramount importance to any Early Years setting, here are some key areas to teach about this Child Safety Week:
· Hot drinks- Most children will know what a kettle is, but do they really know what it does? Visually showing them how hot the water can get will make a lasting impression, as opposed to just saying “it gets hot”. A kettle can be boiled out of reach so they can see the steam, or from a safe distance, ice cubes could be melted in a clear tub so they can see the result without touching.
· Baths- The majority of young children will have baths rather than showers and I guarantee every one of them has experienced one that was ‘too hot’. See if they can recall this sensation and how their toes might have felt as they stepped into the exceedingly hot bath.
· Sun Safety- Hopefully, all children will know why we wear sun cream, but there is nothing wrong with a little refresher lesson. Explaining how painful sunburn can be and even showing what it looks like can be a stark reminder to children why they need to be slathering on the SPF (multiple times a day, and after water play). Letting them put some of their own sun cream on is also a good exercise for them, making sure they don’t miss any bits.
· Fireworks- Although bonfire night is not until November, firework safety should be a year-round lesson. The enticing magic of fireworks can be so alluring to children, it is easy for them to forget just how dangerous they are. Covering the basic safety lessons of having a water bucket near sparklers, holding them at arm’s length and never approaching a faulty firework could potentially save a child’s life.
· Fire Safety- Another priceless lesson for children is general fire safety. What are some possible causes of fires? What do we do if we see a fire? Who would we call? Getting the chalks out to draw some ‘fires’ and letting the children ‘put them out’ like firefighters with some water sprays is a brilliant physical activity which will deepen their understanding.
· Electrical Burns- A burn often forgotten about is the electrical burn. With more and more electrical devices in our lives than even before, it is important children learn about their risks as well as the benefits. Showing them the components of a disconnected wire and/or plug will probably be a brand-new experience for them and will help them to better comprehend how a plug socket or an old frayed wire can be harmful.
· First Aid and 999- Different burns required different first aid, but other than running a minor burn under a tap, a child’s first thought should be to call 999. Basic first aid in general is fine for young children but burns in particular can cause such complex and life-threatening injuries, they are best left to the professionals. Remember, burns can continue to burn long after the direct contact with the heat source.
· Scars- Those who face the most severe burns are left with intense scarring and part of their rehabilitation is coming to terms with their changed appearance. By continuing to teach children about diversity and how it is ok to be different, we can help create a society that is empathetic and considerate towards all others, including burn victims. A suggestion is to find some pictures of scars (not overly traumatising ones of course) and explain that it is simply healed skin and the owner of the skin must have been incredibly brave to overcome such a big injury.
The CAPT focus on preventing, rehabilitating and supporting children and families who have suffered from serious accidents, and nurseries can assist them in their mission. By teaching children and their families how to recognise potential risks, we can help them become more aware of their surroundings, allowing children to develop in safer environments.
Go to Home - Children's Burns Trust (cbtrust.org.uk) to find out more.