Keeping our children happy and safe in the summer holidays
Summer is finally here! The long summer holidays are an amazing chance for your kids to spend some well needed time to play outside in the warm weather and get fresh air. Although it is good for children to be able to play freely, sometimes, kids play can result in accidents. For the most part, these can be harmless and a good learning experience. Enjoying the summer and mucking around with the children is important. But some prior knowledge and preparation for when accidents happen is critical.
In the summer windows are often left open to cool the house down. This is seemingly harmless but it can prove a major danger for curious children. The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) advise windows should be secured so that they only open up to 10cm (6.5cm for under 18mths). This would prevent children falling through them. The same measurement applies to bannister and balcony railing gaps. Be careful not to place plant pots and stools on balconies and by windows as these can be convenient steps for children to climb. Think what you do around windows as well as children will quickly copy as you drag a chair over to reach out or stretch to see something.
If your child does fall from a distance which is more than 2x their height, you must first check whether they are conscious or unconscious.
If they are conscious: Do not move them. Reassure them and calmly try and keep them still to avoid them twisting in case they have damaged their spine. Keep them warm and dry, control any bleeding and call an ambulance.
If they are unconscious but breathing: Carefully roll them into the recovery position to protect their airway – keep the spine in line. Call an ambulance and keep checking that they are breathing.
If they are unconscious and not breathing: You will need to commence CPR.
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This can come on quite suddenly. Some symptoms are that the child may have a raised temperature, feel sick, dizzy, headachy, or have stomach ache and feel sick and it can lead to collapse. They need to re-hydrate fast, taking regular small sips ideally with proper rehydration such as Dioralyte, an isotonic sports drink or water.
During these summer holidays when you’re out and about with kids it’s necessary to stay aware and prepared. Despite this, it is also important to play and have fun with your kids and enjoy the beautiful weather.
To stay prepared, carry a small first aid kit with you with a dressing or triangular bandage to stop bleeding and an instant ice pack to reduce swelling. Using a wrapped ice pack swiftly if a wound is likely to need stitches will reduce swelling, making it easier to suture and can lead to a neater scar.
Having the knowledge to know what to do in a medical emergency and prioritise when things are really serious can make a huge difference. Likewise, being able to judge when a cuddle and distraction can quickly restore them means you can relax and enjoy being out and about together.
It is strongly advised that you complete an online or attend a practical first aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Visit FirstAidforLife.org.uk, OnlineFirstAid.com or call 0208 675 4036 for more information about our courses.
First Aid for Life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.