Sunday, 28 May 2017

Child Safety Week What Are You Doing?

So what have I learnt in the 4 and a half years since I became a parent.....?  My little one seems to get clumsier with every passing minute.  She has trip after fall after blood spillage with no sign of it abating.  When she was immobile she was pretty unscathed but then she started to move.....


    Hair Straighteners
    pills and tablets

  • Accidents in the home remain the biggest risk to the under 5s, in fact they are the leading cause of death in boys under the age of 4  according to the Child Accident Prevention Trust
  • 1 in 10 parents of children under 5 admitted that their children had sustained a serious burn from hair straighteners or tong
  • Suspected poisoning is one of the most common causes of attendance to Accident and Emergency and while childproof lids might slow them down some 3 - 4 year olds can open them in seconds
  • 95% of all burns and scalds happen in the home.
  • Every day around 40 under 5s are rushed to hospital following choking

  • Well that was a cheerful little whistlestop tour through some gruesome facts.....but it just highlights how we need to be so mindful of childrens' safety in everything they do.  Things can change in the blink of an eye and not everything is preventable.  All we can do is be mindful of what we are doing when our children are around

    Child Safety Week 

    The Child Accident Prevention Trust is instrumental in spreading the word on safety offering free advice and tips to parents and professionals on how to keep little people safe.  The offer training as well as resources and publications. 

    This year it is taking place from 5th - 11th June.  The subject is "Safe Children, sharing is caring"

    Why not visit their website for further information and tips

    The focus is on asking people what they do to keep children safe.....what do you do?

    Here at safety first I try to educate parents on keeping their babies and children safe as well as teaching childminders and nannies on how to provide first aid in their work place.  I am trying to get first aid into schools and after school clubs for 4 to 11 yesr olds.  Flat Stan is an amazing resource developed by Simon Ferris.  It enables children to get hands on and reminds them how to call for help etc....thus empowering them to help out in an emergency.  Flat Stan First Aid now have resources for EarlyYears Settings which I can advise you on further

    If you would like some hands on training why not drop me a line at

    Tuesday, 16 May 2017

    My Top Tips for First Aid

    I can't believe it has been nearly 3 years since I started Safety First.  What a great time I have had teaching children from 3.5 years of age to parents and professionals how to administer first aid.  Getting the safety message out there and empowering them to deal with unexpected emergencies.

    During this time I have had my fair share of bumps and bleeds to deal with as the mother of an eternally bruised 4 year old.  I thought it may be a good time to share my top topics and tips that I would like all first time parents to know and think about

    1) Choking 

    From my experience of teaching first aid to parents, I think this is the subject that most people are concerned with especially around

    How to recognise choking:

    • The person may be unable to talk or breathe
    • They may be grabbing their throat
    • Attempts to cough will be weakening
    • They will look really distressed
    • They may initially be quite red in the face becoming pale and blue.

    How to minimise the risk of choking 

    Choking hazards - How to cut up grapes

    • Cut food up into reasonable sized pieces - grapes should be cut in half vertically
    • Try not to leave coins and other small objects lying around
    • Don't feed them when they are on the move, try to keep them sitting down
    • Remember that their airways are very small so be mindful of what goes in their mouth
    If your child chokes, lean them forward over your lap (supporting the head if it is a baby) and administer 5 back blows, followed by 5 abdominal thrusts (chest thrusts in babies).

    If you cannot remove the obstruction call 999 and if they collapse commence CPR

    First Aid for Choking

    2) Febrile Convulsions

    Children under the age of 5 are unable to manage their own body temperature as the hypothalamus (part of the brain) is immature.  Anyone who has had a baby or small child will know that when they get sick their temperature can soar.  Most of the time this will come down with some calpol.  However there is a more serious side to temperatures which many parents are unaware of.  

    In 1 in 20 children a high temperature can lead to a febrile convulsion.  This is a fit associated with a rapidly rising temperature.

    A normal temperature is between 36.5 to 37.5.  

    If your child has a temperature - do not overdress them, keep them well hydrated and keep the room well ventilated without directly pointing a fan at the child, administer calpol (paracetamol) and nurofen (ibuprofen) as per the instructions on the bottle.

    How to recognise a febrile convulsion

    • The child will become stiff with jerky movements
    • Or they may become really floppy
    • Their eyes may roll back 
    • The child will be unresponsive
    • Their limbs will start twitching and jerking
    • They may foam at the mouth
    • They may become a bit blue around the mouth

    This product has not yet been reviewed ( Write a Review )What to do?

    • Time the seizure - an uncomplicated seizure should no more than around 3 minutes
    • Protect the head
    • Make sure the area is safe
    • Take them to hospital to investigate the cause

    These are just a couple of things I think parents of small children should know about, but if you would like to know more please do not hesitate to get in touch and book yourself on to a first aid course today

    Wednesday, 12 April 2017

    Button Batteries

    Button Batteries

    One of the reasons I started to deliver first aid was to educate parents about first aid when expecting their precious bundles.  I have been doing this for nearly 3 years now, and peruse the internet to keep up to date with safety advice and tips.  I also watch every last little toy, coin, and finger go into the mouth of my nearly 4 year old on a regular basis, so I thought it important to raise awareness of the risk posed by button batteries.  

    Button batteries are sold everywhere for use in our growing pile of toys.  With a recent child death hitting the headlines and a colleague of mine reporting a huge increase in children attending the hospital she works at, I think it is really important to try and raise awareness about the dangers of button batteries.  

    Why are they so dangerous?

    The safety risk they present has been highlighted by the Child Accident Prevention Trust ( This is generally following unfortunate injuries and incidents to small children. It is well known that young children explore the world through their mouths.  Everything  goes in their mouth and they aren't too discerning as to what this may be.  Their little fingers move with lightening speed meaning toys can disappear into their mouths in an instant, and they are always exploring.  It is these tendencies which are so important for their development, but on occasion can be troublesome.  

    Where Can I Find them?

    Button batteries are present in a number of household items which often have buttons and other things on them which make them attractive to explore.  Below are some of the items they may be found in:

    • small remote controls
    • car key fobs
    • calculators
    • thermometers
    • hearing aids
    • digital scales
    • musical cards
    • novelty toys
    • watches
    • flameless candles and nightlights (CAPT, 2016)

    If your children's toys have been appropriately tested to meet certain safety standards the battery compartment should be screwed down making them harder to open, although it is important to point out that older children may be able to open these battery compartments.  

    How Can I Reduce the Risk?

    In order to keep your children safe from this risk there are a few things you can do to protect them, for example you can keep the toys out of harm's way.  Store spare batteries in a locked cupboard, or one that is out of reach although be mindful of little climbers who are have learnt how to problem solve in order to reach things that they want.  Try to buy your toys from a reputable supplier, making sure they meet British Safety Standards.

    These batteries often pass through the system without issue, but if they do get stuck somewhere such as the throat or in an ear or nose, the energy they release can cause the body to produce caustic soda which is extremely corrosive.  If it does get stuck in their throat the battery could burn a hole or cause internal bleeding.
    It may not be immediately obvious that a battery is stuck until the damage has started to occur.  If you think your child may have swallowed a button battery you should take them to the Emergency Department and advise the Drs of your concerns, don't allow them to eat or drink anything and do not make them vomit.

    Awareness is spreading around this issue but it is important to get the word out there, because if one child can be saved or one injury prevented it is a job well done

    Saturday, 18 February 2017

    Nature, Nurture, Personality or luck?

    So I sat at a farm yesterday in the sun 🌞🌞with my little lady and some friends and their children watching her eat her lunch 🍊🍏🍞and I realised how "lucky" I am with her and how "good" she actually is πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“.  The more I have thought about it since, the more I have thought, how much of it is nurture, how much is nature - that age old debate, and if any of it is down to luck? It would be arrogant to assume it was nurture as I am definitely no parenting guru and I don't have anyone to compare her to as a mum of one

    My daughter first went to the childminders at 11 months of age and I was always told how she would happily have ten like her.  There were very few tears at drop off every morning, she was very accepting and still is of most things.  Lots of people have commented on how calm and easy she is and to be honest she is generally a little doll.  Sure we have had our battles - a nearly 2 year refusal to eat dinner for mummy to the point of tears (mine), but we sailed through the 2s and the 3s with very few tantrums and now we are 4 and she continues to be a really good girl.  The last few days I have had my breakfast poured for me (not necessarily what I would have eaten, but it's the thought😍). Perhaps the lack of tantrums was due to her ability to talk stupidly early.

    I can't profess to being a particularly outstanding parent, stroppy, stressed and tired more like 😈 - trying to run a house, set up a business and actually see my treasure will do that to you 😩😩πŸ˜ͺ.  In the first year of her life we battled reflux accompanied by lots of screaming (not fun), and I had very little support and lots of stress with a very ill mum.  To top that year off I separated from her dad so all in all not a rosy first year 😞. Since then things have continued to be somewhat fraught but I have always had my angel to get me through the hard times πŸ˜„πŸ˜.  I have always tried to think of her emotions and feelings and given her lots of cuddles and kisses but I have also shouted and lost my temper probably more than I should 😨

    I loved my pregnancy and I know we have got a really good attachment, she brings me joy most days πŸ’˜πŸ’—πŸ’™πŸ’šπŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ™Œ and I know I am her best friend (for now), but as to her lovely little personality and disposition is this due to luck?  It is the main conclusion I can come to....what do you think?  is personality inate in them from day 1, do we have a great influence in developing or is it all just down to luck?

    Wednesday, 11 January 2017

    Keeping safe this winter

    With snow on the horizon in the middle of January we are all going to need to wrap up warm, enjoy the snowball fights and stay safe.  My 4 year old is looking forward to her first proper snowball fight while I am anticipating a long, cold walk to deliver some health promotion

    In this inclement weather there are a couple of things to think about:

    Hypothermia: this is a risk for anyone experiencing over exposure in the cold.  It is even more of a risk to small children, babies or elderly relatives.  In order to avoid hypothermia, make sure they are wearing plenty of layers including a hat and avoid over exposure or long periods in the cold, limit the length of their snowball fights / snowman creating.  

    Hypothermia is caused by a low body temperature and small children are unable to regulate their own body temperature which increases their chances of developing this.  

    If your child starts to feel cold to the touch or look pale, displays constant shivering, tiredness and low energy these can all be a sign of mild hypothermia.  It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect hypothermia, but while you are waiting for help to arrive, make sure they are warmed up gradually.  
    Remove any wet clothing, 
    Place them in a warm area, 
    Encourage them to take some warm drinks.  

    DON'T put them directly in a bath or try to warm them up too quickly. 

    For further hints and tips on managing hypothermia check out NHS choices


    Snowball fights and tobogganing are always great fun, and I can't wait to introduce my daughter to them.  Cold weather and snow and ice means slippery pavements and roads which can cause falls and in some cases broken limbs.  If you can avoid walking on the streets this would be beneficial to reduce risk but if the worst happens, how would you recognise or manage a fracture?

    Pain to the limb in question
    Loss of Power or inability to use the limb
    Unusual movement or position 
    Swelling and bruising around the area
    Deformity and in some cases the bone may break through the skin

    You may also hear a bone snap as you fall and you may also feel a bit dizzy or faint if you go into shock

    If you do suspect a fracture, it is important to seek medical advice either from a minor injuries unit or emergency department and try not to move the affected limb more than is necessary.  Avoid eating and drinking incase surgery is required. 

    The winter can be a season of great fun, log fires and hot chocolate and can be enjoyed by all if you wrap up warm 

    Wednesday, 2 November 2016

    Bonfire Night Safety Tips

    Image result for pumpkinWhat an exciting time of year we are having at the moment for little people up and down the country.  First off there was the fun and frolics of Halloween parties and trick or treating in fancy dress costumes.  Crowds of children parading around the neighbours' houses in scary costumes collecting sweets and consuming sugar galore to hype them up. Parties with apple bobbing, and pumpkin carving competitions (hopefully avoiding any blood spillage from little fingers) and pumpkin soup to keep you fed for weeks.  

    Once the parties have been had and the sugar highs have subsided we have Guy Fawkes Night round the corner to celebrate with bonfire parties and fireworks display.   

    Image result for fireworks

    With such fun and excitement all around it's amazing there is more room for partying, but while these parties continue, there are a few safety issues that invariably do affect a proportion of people attending these parties / displays, and I will be looking in this post at how to manage burns.

    Burns and scalds can occur anywhere on the body, and can vary in severity.  Burns are caused by dry heat, and scalds are caused by a wet heat.  They can be very painful leading to blistering, swelling and skin loss.  Having said this, the most severe burns can actually be relatively painless.

    Image result for burnsWhile we once talked about first degree, second degree and third degree burns we now categorize them into: 

    1. Superficial - affecting the epidermis
    2. Partial thickness, damaging the dermis 
    3. Full thickness affecting all three layers of the skin including the cutis

    If someone you know sustains a burn during bonfire night or a fireworks display there are a few things you need to do to minimise the damage which is sustained.

    1. Firstly you need to try and move the person away from the source of the heat.  
    2. Next you need to cool it down for at last 10 minutes under cold running water if possible 
    3. Remove clothing or jewellery which is near the burn, but nothing that is stuck to it.  
    4. Cover it with clingfilm.  This will stick to itself but not to the burn. 
    5. Seek help if necessary
    Image result for burns treatment

    In some instances you will need to seek medical attention, and these are the type of burns that need treatment: 

    • large or deep burns – which are bigger than the affected person's hand
    • burns of any size that cause white or charred skin
    • burns which occur on the face, hands, arms, feet, legs or genitals that cause blisters
    • all chemical and electrical burn
    • In a child a burn that is greater than 1% of the surface area of the body needs to be taken for medical opinion.  This equates to about the size of their hand.

    Do not use anything like butter or toothpaste on a burn and avoid any antiseptic creams. If in doubt get it checked out

    Fireworks night should be fun for everyone, so be sure to enjoy your night, keep safe and stay out of the Emergency Department

    Friday, 16 September 2016

    Asthma - top tips to keep your child well this winter


    With time flying by, we are now right in the middle of the month when admissions to hospital due to exacerbation of asthma are at their highest rate.  With the changing season and fluctuating temperature (hard to imagine in the midst of the present heat wave) hospital admissions soar.

    AsthmaThere are 1.1 million children in the UK living with asthma (Asthma UK) and 4.3 million adults, and asthma causes a child to be admitted to hospital on average every 20 minutes.  Asthma takes 3 lives every day and perhaps more worryingly, research has shown that around 2/3 of these deaths are avoidable if medication is used properly

    What causes asthma

    Asthma is caused by an inflammation of the airways and a build up of mucus.  It can be triggered by a number of different factors which will vary according to each individual person.  A few of these are temperature change, dust, exercise, allergies, stress and pollution.  Knowing your triggers and symptoms is vital to keeping healthy and staying out of hospital.

    How can you help?

    So if you do have an asthmatic child, what can you do to help them on their return to school?  

    1. Check that their inhaler is in date and has plenty left in it.  Make sure they have one in their bag if they are at Secondary School and one in the office as well
    2. If they are still at primary school they should have a spacer as well (see picture)
    3. Educate them to be aware of their triggers, for example will the changing temperature impact on their capacity to do P.E without getting breathless.  If so seek advice on how to manage this - do they need to take their reliever 20 minutes before P.E?
    4. Try to encourage them to use their preventer regularly to avoid the symptoms occurring.
    5.  Get the practice nurse to check their inhaler technique, or visit the asthma UK website and watch their video clips
    6. Complete an asthma action plan (downloadable through the asthma UK website)

    People with asthma are also more at risk of becoming seriously unwell if they contract the flu so it may be worth checking with the GP surgery as to whether they are eligible for the flu jab.

    So who is eligible for the flu jab with the ever changing world of the NHS?

    As it currently stands:

    •  Every child aged between 2 & 4 will be offered the vaccine by their GP.  
    • All children in years 1 - 3 will be offered it in schools, (dependent on local commisioning arrangements)

    Asthma is a completely manageable condition with the right medication / action plan so by following the advice above and considering getting your child immunised perhaps you will be able to avoid the dreaded Emergency Department this winter

    To find out more about first aid in asthma why not book onto a first aid course