Home Accident Prevention Group Holds Safety Fair In Downpatrick

The Down Home Accident Prevention (HAP) group have held a Safety Fair, a Safe Families event, alongside the Sure Start Mother and Toddler group in the Presbyterian Hall in Fountain Street, Downpatrick, to inform families from across Downpatrick of everyday hazards that may affect them and their children.

Anne Murray, HAP chairperson and an environmental health officer with Newry Mourne and Down District Council said: “The fair on Monday 6 July (2015) covered a wide area of where accidents can occur in the home especially with children.

[caption id="attachment_57454" align="aligncenter" width="540"]Representatives from the Sure Start, County Down Rural Community Network, the NI Fire and Rescue Service, in the Presbyterian Church Hall in Downpatrick for a presentation on xx Representatives from Sure Start, County Down Rural Community Network, the NI Fire and Rescue Service, the British Red Cross, Cancer Focus and PSNI Crime Prevention Officers  in the Presbyterian Church Hall in Downpatrick for a presentation on keeping families safe. Included are mums and children from the Fountain Street Playgroup. [/caption]

“This was a very useful event for the parents who were there and carers. We provide an outreach service and often do presentation in the community to get the message of safety at home across.

“Information was given from a range of local services on:

* Home Safety by Down Home Accident Prevention * Car Seat Safety by Halfords * First Aid by British Red Cross * Crime Prevention by PSNI Crime Prevention Officers * Fire Safety in the Home by Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue * Sun Safety by Cancer Focus.

“In particular, the Down Home Accident Prevention group would like to highlight the following key messages to parents, guardians and carers of children under five years old who may be vulnerable even in their own homes or play areas where you may think they are safe.”

Blind Cords

The majority of homes now have blinds fitted in their homes, with an estimated 200 million currently fitted in homes and offices across the country, which may account for this large number of deaths.

The Down Home Accident prevention Group would like to offer the following advice to all parents, relatives and carers of young children on how to make their blinds safe.

To reduce the risk posed by looped cords, including blind cords, cords should be kept out of the reach of children. Tie up the cords or use one of the many cleats, cord tidies, clips or ties that are available.

Cutting cords is not recommended, even as a short-term solution.

Pull cords on curtains and blinds should be kept short and kept out of reach All parents, relatives and carers of young children are advised to do a quick audit of their home and make sure any window blinds cords are made safe.

Burns and Scalds

Every year many children in Northern Ireland attend the Accident & Emergency as a result of Burns & Scalds in the Home and some children are admitted to Hospital and may even require plastic surgery leading to permanent scarring to their body. Horrific injuries can occur very quickly as children’s skin can be 15 times thinner than adults.

Hair straighteners have become one of the leading causes of burns to children. To prevent burns to children always ensure the straighteners are switched off after use and un-plugged and put out of reach from children. They should be stored in a safe place on a heat proof mat or in the heat pockets supplied.

Never leave them unattended when in use.


Falling is the most common type of accident in the home AND can cause serious injury at any time of life. Fifty-five per cent of accidental injuries in the home involve falls. Families with young children are given the following advice: * Baby bouncers – keep them on the floor. Never to be set on tables and worktops. * High chairs – use a five point safety harness. This is a strap between the baby’s legs, straps that go over the baby’s shoulders and straps that go under the baby’s arms. * Parents should always change a baby on the floor to prevent any falls. * Bunk beds – anyone under 6 years old should sleep on bottom bunk only. * Stairs – securely fix stair gates, preferably at the top and the bottom of the stairs and always use them safely. * Windows – fit window restrictor bars to stop children from falling out. * Move furniture such as beds and chairs away from windows to prevent children from climbing

Fire Safety

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service also offfer families the following advice: –

* Don’t forget to carry out your night-time fire safety check * Never leave candles unattended * Don’t overload electrical sockets * Planned your escape route and know where to go * Never let children play with matches or cigarette lighters * All homes are recommended to have a working smoke alarm, which is checked every week to ensure it is working correctly.

“Another fair is organised for Monday 27 July in St Marys Hall, Main Street, Newcastle, at 10am. Everyone is welcome,” added Anne Murray.