As part of the third annual Family Safety Week organised by RoSPA, 24|7 Home Rescue are providing household safety tips throughout the week to raise awareness of accidents in the home, specifically to children. In this new post on the final day of Family Safety Week, we’ll explain how to prevent choking or suffocation at home.
Research has shown that within a single 2-year period throughout England and Wales, 62 children died due to choking, strangulation or suffocation with the majority being boys under the age of 3. The majority of these accidents have occurred at home and further research has indicated that 5,000 children aged 15 or under have attended hospitals due to choking.
Additionally, there have been at least 14 deaths of children since 2001 involving suffocating or choking on items such as nappy sacks and a further 28 have died due to strangulation on things like blind cords since 1999. In fact, choking, suffocation and strangulation are among the five most serious injuries sustained to under 5’s in England.
Primarily there are three main causes for these types of injuries:
Suffocation in bed is relatively uncommon but around seven children under the age of five die in England each year due to entrapment in adult beds or being covered by another person’s body.
Around six children under five die each year from either accidental hanging or strangulation. This is most commonly caused by becoming entangled in blind cords or crib bars.
Primarily affecting children and babies under the age of two, inhalation of food causes around 8 deaths a year in children under the age of five.
It can take merely a few minutes for a baby to suffocate and as they cannot move freely by themselves they are unable to move themselves into a position where they can breathe.
Ensure your child has a safe sleeping place. Many parents, especially in the first few months after your child is born, may want to take the child to bed with them but this can be very dangerous and some parents have accidentally suffocated their child this way in the past. Ensure your baby has a cot near to your own bed so you can keep on eye on them and you’ll sleep soundly too.
Very young babies aren’t strong enough to push blankets away from their face so ensure you put your baby at the bottom of the cot to stop your little one from moving down in the night. Don’t use duvets or quilts for babies under the age of 12 months and instead use lightweight blankets.
Keep nappy sacks well out of the reach of young children. As they are very thin, they can easily cling to a baby’s face when they are breathing in. Also, avoid keeping them in cots, prams or buggies.
Babies love to roll around and explore what they can but be careful! Don’t leave your baby lying on a sofa unattended as it could get stuck between the cushions and stop breathing and ensure the crib has sufficient space between the bars to avoid their head becoming jammed.
Plastic bags are notoriously dangerous for children under the age of five. One way to avoid your toddler getting trapped in a plastic bag is to tie a knot at the top of the bag so they can’t get into it. Once this is done, store it safely away in a locked cupboard. For any bags that seal and protect items you’ve purchased, be sure to throw them away immediately after opening.
Babies love to explore their surroundings and many like to grab and climb things before they can even walk. Household objects we may feel out of reach can also pose a serious threat to a baby’s inquisitive nature such as strings, cords and chains.
All blinds are now manufactured with specific safety requirements to prevent children from getting trapped or strangled by them. New blinds should either include hooks to place them safely out of reach or they should include no cord at all.
Be aware of any looped cords or strings, particularly from dummies, bags or ribbons as this could pose a risk to young babies. As they grow into toddlers, little ones may want to move around more an so ensure you keep any hanging strings and cords out of reach. If you do have cords on your blinds, tie them up securely or pin them in a hard-to-reach place.
As young children haven’t mastered the art of chewing, swallowing and breathing in the right order they can sometimes get mixed up which can cause choking.
Children don’t always make a noise when they are choking so it’s important to keep an eye on them at all times and food is the most likely cause that a small child will choke. Babies are more at risk of choking as they examine most items and objects by placing them in their mouths.
Coins, small batteries and small parts from toys can be a choking hazard for smaller children and babies so it’s important to ensure these are removed from reach and hidden away safely.
Smaller hard foods such as sweets or ice cubes can be dangerous for a toddler as can grapes, cherry tomatoes, blackberries and other small fruits. Remember to cut the fruit into quarters before giving it to your child to avoid a choking hazard.
Pick toys appropriate to your child’s age and look out for the age symbols and warning signs on the packaging. Toys with small pieces that can easily come away are not recommended for youngsters.
Avoid small magnets at all costs. Inspect any of your child’s games or toys for magnets and avoid the magnets you usually see on your fridge. If you suspect your child has swallowed a magnet, please seek medical advice urgently.
If you’d like information on falls, trips and slips please visit this article or for advice on protecting your child against burns, please read our guide here. To find out how to prevent poisoning at home, please take a look at our guide here.
Held annually on November 5th, Guy Fawkes Night is one of the most awaited holidays of the year. Commonly known as Bonfire Night or as Fireworks Night, it is a holiday which is celebrated in Britain and in several countries that were once part of the British Empire. It commemorates the foiled Gunpowder Plot of 1605 in which a group of Catholics failed to assassinate the Protestant King James I. They wanted to replace him with a Catholic head of state. On November 5th, 1605, Guy Fawkes was arrested when he was caught guarding 36 barrels of explosives placed beneath the House of Lords.
Days following his arrest, many conspirators including Fawkes were arrested and then hanged, drawn and quartered. The following year, the Observance of 5th November Act 1605 was passed to commemorate the event. It is celebrated till today with parades, fireworks, and straw effigies of Guy Fawkes and other political figures which are tossed into the communal bonfire.
Although, public parks provide great entertainment, they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Many prefer to host an event in the comfort of their backyard. A private event will give you the liberty to serve food of your choice, play your favorite tunes, and host a variety of activities. While, a get together with friends and family is always fun, starting a bonfire and setting off fireworks can be quite dangerous. Last year, 4436 individuals attended the emergency room because of injuries sustained during Guy Fawkes Night.
The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) is currently calling on the Government to make a legislature mandating all firework packaging include graphic warnings like the ones which appear on cigarette boxes. They are hopeful people will take caution when hosting a fireworks display.
Set Off Fireworks:
Start a Bonfire:
Dependency on heating has risen tenfold since autumn has begun. Temperatures will dip further in the coming months. We will be greeted by chilly winds and snowstorms which will force many to stay indoors. Our security blanket against the harsh weather is none other than a gas operable boiler. Manufacturers of national boiler brands promise warmth and comfort. In most circumstances, they deliver on their promise but in some instances, boilers pose as a threat to the well-being and lives of all living at home. Boilers that emit carbon monoxide need to be capped off immediately as they are a source of danger.
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of gas boilers and is usually released outdoors through a flue. The deadly gas will equalize in our home under two circumstances: either the flue is blocked, or our boiler is defective. Carbon monoxide will release if there are cracks in the combustion chamber, leak in the seams or cracks in the exhaust piping. Its symptoms include nausea, blurred vision, loss of consciousness and breathlessness. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing these symptoms as a case of the flu. It is far more lethal!
Its pseudonym ‘silent killer’ is eerily befitting. The Department of Health reports carbon monoxide poisoning accounts for 4000 medical visits and up to 50 deaths annually. As exposure to carbon monoxide increases, its symptoms go from bad to worse. Breathing in high levels of the deadly gas can cause seizures, a feeling that your environment is spinning, loss of physical co-ordination and Parkinsonism. It is a degenerative neurological condition that is characterized by stiffness, impaired speech and slow movement.
Carbon monoxide detectors come dime a dozen. Choose wisely after researching the pros and cons of each type. You can find alarms that are plugged into an outlet and those that are wired into a wall by an electrician. Battery-operated alarms are commonly used.
Install a carbon monoxide alarm in every room that contains a fuel-burning appliance such as a gas boiler or a hob. The alarm should be at least 3 meters away from the appliance. You should also install an alarm in any room which has a flu.
If you wish to install it on a wall, make sure that it is at least 15 centimeters away from the ceiling. You can also install the alarm on the ceiling, but it should be at least 30 CM away from the light source and walls.
The best place to install an alarm is your bedroom and the rooms in which you spend the most amount of time in. If you live in a multi-level home, you should install an interconnected carbon monoxide detector on every floor. All units will sound off even if one device detects the deadly gas.
Care should be taken to not install a detector behind drapery, furniture or in enclosed spaces such as a cupboard. This will prevent the device from effectively detecting the silent killer. Additionally, do not place the alarm next to a window, vent or a door or in a damp area like a bathroom.
The step by step installation of battery-operable alarms differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. It is therefore very important to read the manual which came with the packaging before you begin installation.
Use the template that comes with the instruction manual and place it against the wall. Mark installation holes with a pencil. Next, use a screwdriver to make holes on the marked spots. Place the wall plugs into the holes by tapping them into position.
Place the screws into the anchors and then screw them in tightly. Afterwards, fit the carbon monoxide detector into position.
Insert the batteries into the device. Next, test the alarm by holding down the ‘Test’ button until you hear it beeping. The alarm will sound for 3 to 5 seconds before turning off automatically.
Make it a habit to test the alarm every month by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds off. This will ensure the alarm circuitry is functional. You should also test the sensor of the unit occasionally by using a canned CO detector test spray. It is a non-flammable aerosol. Press the spray nozzle for at least 3 seconds. Your alarm should sound off within minutes.21/10/2019
Wearing layers of clothes will help keep you warm during winter, but you will need to take several preventative measures to winterize your home. By taking precaution, you will not only lower your energy bills but in most cases, you will save yourself the hassle of calling a professional to weatherproof your home. The perils of not paying heed are several. If the temperature in your home falls below 16°C, the chances of falling gravely ill skyrocket. The elderly, children and those with disabilities are at the highest risk. Those with respiratory illness and high blood pressure can also develop complications such as heart attacks and pneumonia. Regardless of how harsh the weather becomes; we believe the following tactics can help you live indoors with ease.
You need to inspect every nook and cranny to ensure your home is weatherproof. Cold air often enters through gaps in windows and doors. Caulking around these gaps is an inexpensive solution to keep the draft out. Begin caulking around the window frames outside your home and if necessary, fill in the gaps by caulking inside. Alternatively, you can apply weather strip around the window frames. Once you have measured the length of strip required, cut as necessary and stick it over the gaps.
If your windows are past their prime, replace them with double pane windows. They are different from a single pane window because they have two layers of glass. Although, they may cost more than their single pane counterparts, double glaze windows are far more advantageous. They offer noise reduction and more importantly are energy efficient. Additional insulation on your windows can save you up to 30% on your annual energy bills.
You can winterize your doors by using an under-door draft stopper. They prevent heat loss by closing the gap at the bottom of the door. Under-door draft stoppers come in a variety of forms and are easily installed with the help of a hammer and handful number of nails. Brush door sweep, self-adhesive weather strip, door snake and twin draft guard are readily available at most hardware stores. Before you make a purchase, take into consideration how wide your door is and how big the gap is.
Prevent cold air from entering through your windows with insulated draperies. Thermal curtains are energy efficient because they are lined with heavy material. They can save up to 30% in heat loss. It is best to keep them open during the day so sunlight can come in and to draw them at night. You can purchase drapery that comes with lining or ones that sells lining separately. Another option is to use honeycomb cellular shades. Cellular shades contain honeycomb packets that trap heat to block out the cold. Your home will be ready for winter by using cellular shades paired with thermal curtains.
You can weatherproof your home by having your boiler serviced before the arrival of winter. Having an early boiler service will help the engineer catch problems in your boiler. Servicing your boiler will also increase its lifetimes and improve its efficiency.
It is ideal to have a boiler breakdown cover that provides emergency repair along with an annual boiler service. Although, independent tradesmen are available for hire, calling them out on the 11thhour during the dead of winter often proves difficult. They provide service in their local area only and cater to a limited number of customers daily. It is better to work with an organization that is reputable and are top-notch experts in their field.
247 Home Rescue has a network of 3000 engineers and provide cover throughout the United Kingdom. We specialize in boiler installation, annual service and emergency repair. We also employ tradesmen that are registered with Gas Safe Register which eliminates the risk of rogue tradesmen that do more harm than good.
As the temperature dips below zero, your water pipes are at risk of freezing over. This will not only cause discomfort as you will be unable to take hot showers, there is a possibility the pipes will burst and lead to flooding. You can prevent pipes from freezing by keeping your heating on even when you aren’t at home. Caulk or use spray foam insulation to fill the gaps where pipes run through walls or floors. Finally, apply heating tape directly to the pipes or fiberglass sleeves to decrease the chances of pipes freezing over.03/10/2019