Hi, I am Sara from Sara Quayle Safety and I help companies, individuals and parents with safety and first aid training for work, home and adventure.
Being a mother of two young children I completely understand the worries that many parents face. Many mothers like myself have come to realise that we have an endless “to do list” and unfortunately sometimes basic lifesaving skills and home safety awareness slip to the bottom of that list.
A recent survey conducted by the Red Cross stated that only 4% of people they talked to were confident to help someone in a first aid situation. Another report also revealed that 72% of parents across the UK wouldn’t know how to assist an unconscious child, administer CPR or attend to burns and scalds. My aim is to get that information across in a way that will allow first aid to be ticked off that list!
Knowing what to do if your child is injured, choking or sick will give vital confidence, therefore less worry to any parent. Allowing days out to be fun and more relaxed as they will have learnt the skills and probably the biggest one for mothers, less guilt around not knowing what to do!
The thing is with children, they are going to get themselves into situations that could cause themselves injuries especially in and around the home, but what we can do as parents is to try and reduce the risk to our children especially in our own homes.
It is amazing the number of hazards that are relatively innocuous to us that actually can and have caused life threatening or life changing injuries to children. Children and infants love nothing more than to explore their worlds, they are little adventurers, adverse to risk and cause their parents no end of worry! And to add to that they put everything in their mouths! Below I have set out some examples with some guidance on how we can reduce the risks to our little ones!
- Loose cords from blinds can cause strangulation to young children. Curtain with long trailing cords and decorative tie backs can also be hazardous. To prevent this install cleats to wrap cords around and to keep them out of reach and you can also get child safe blinds and ties.
- Button batteries are deadly, these can be found in remote controls, toys, watches and musical greeting cards to name a few. Although a child may not choke on them if swallowed the batteries can do serious internal damage. When combined with saliva, the electrical current from the battery produces caustic soda that can burn through the throat or stomach and can cause further damage to other internal organs. These need to be kept away from children and be aware of where they could be used in your home.
- When children first begin to walk, they like to “cruse” around furniture grabbing onto anything they can reach which can then be pulled down onto them. Low tv units, bookshelves, long mirrors, etc. Make sure that these items are attached securely to the walls to prevent crush injuries.
- Tall and heavy free-standing furniture like chest of draws and wardrobes can also be toppled by children as they start to climb, make sure these are also secured to the walls, many companies now provide the safety equipment to do this, especially if you are buying equipment for a child’s room but don’t stop there!
- Sharp corners on low furniture can hurt young children, particularly toddlers just learning to crawl. You can use corner protectors to prevent this.
- If you are installing new worktops in the kitchen for your home you might want to purchase tops with rounded edges as opposed to squared, to stop young children hitting their heads.
- Stairgates can be installed at the top and bottom of each staircase in the property to prevent falls. You can get pressure gates that adhere to the walls so you don’t have to drill into your property but they are not as robust as a fixed gate so don’t place these at the top of the stairs, they can be used at the bottom.
- Bannisters and railings that are more than 6.5cm or 2.5 inches wide can represent a choking hazard. Place boards or nets to cover the gaps to prevent infants from putting their heads through.
- Low windows can cause lethal falls to infants and children. Safety catches can be installed and make sure that furniture which young children may climb onto are not near either high or low windows.
- Fireplaces in the home should be properly guarded and the guard should encase the whole fireplace and be fixed to the walls to prevent toppling over.
- Doors are always a big cause of injury to small children as it is very easy for them to get their fingers trapped. Install door holders to prevent them from closing doors on their hands.
- Household chemicals that are kept in low level areas need to be secured against infants and children. Chemicals and detergents like bleach, dishwasher and washing machine tablets are potential poisons and must be kept securely. Cupboards can be secured with magnetic locks or special adhesive strips to prevent them from being opened by children.
- Where the front door can be opened from the inside without a key and is within reach of a child install a child lock or door knob cover to prevent children from leaving the property.
- If your home has cat flaps or dog flaps (pet door) these can pose significant dangers to young children. Many children have sustained fatal injuries after escaping houses through pet doors.
- Water features and ponds in the garden are such a nice focal point but sadly infants can drown in just 2 inches of water, fence off or securely cover the pond to prevent drowning.
- Extension cables should be kept well out of reach of children to avoid strangulation. It is also worth monitoring the use of extension within the home to prevent a fire hazard. Coiled up extension cables must be fully uncoiled to prevent a fire hazard. Speak to an electrician to see about the suitability of plug guards to sockets to prevent children putting their fingers into them.
Sara is passionate about workplace and home safety. She has worked in health and safety for over 15 years in industries including, railway, construction, manufacturing and schools, she has honed her skills as a first aid instructor during this time, all after serving 13 years in the Royal Navy. She is also a mother to 2 children, so understands the pain point of looking after risk adverse children and that long “to do” list!
With the wonderful My VIP Card I have an offer for my online Infant and child first aid course for parents. Using the code Vip20 you will get 20% off this course. The course is in sections that are easy to digest, there are 5 modules which are in video form that can be stopped and started as required. The user can keep the course for 18 months and it is updated as needed when first aid advice changes. Check it out here: https://sara-s-school-6099.thinkific.com/ Normal price is £32.
For face-to-face parenting course please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit me at www.saraquaylesafety.co.uk
In the press.
Sara has contributed to articles in RBS Homewise for Landlords and making your rental property child friendly.
Sara was asked by Sage to give advice on setting up a side hustle https://www.sage.com/en-gb/blog/set-up-side-hustle-full-time/
Metro.co.uk, Increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the winter https://metro.co.uk/2021/02/10/this-is-why-the-risk-of-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-increases-in-winter-14058090/
IOSH Magazine March/April 2021. This was a personal case study on Sara looking at her journey from military to health and safety. https://www.ioshmagazine.com/…/19/joining-forces-veterans