Safety First – Seasonal advice from the ESCB

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A good night’s sleep 

Safer Sleep should remain a priority at Christmas…

Safer Sleep

Poor sleeping conditions and co-sleeping remains the cause of a number of child deaths in the County each year. This year is no different. And the risk over the festive period increases, excess food and drink, more people in the house, change in sleeping arrangements, staying at relatives houses and using babysitters are all changes in routine which could have devastating consequences if precautions are not taken. Luckily, if you always follow our Safer Sleep advice no matter where your baby is sleeping you can greatly reduce the risk. Further information about Safer Sleep.

Star-gazing for Santa’s sleigh!

Make sure Santa is the only thing for your little one is looking up high for…

Furniture Safety

Be careful not to leave presents and toys in places out of reach that might tempt toddlers to climb on to furniture. Falling TVs has been highlighted by RoSPA as a cause of eight deaths of children under five since July 2008. As well as securing furniture to walls, another easy way to deter climbing is keep toys at toddler level. Further information and resources about Furniture Safety.

Presents, presents everywhere

Is that ‘bargain’ really a good deal?


When heading out for your last bits of shopping make sure you to head to retailers that have a good reputation. Markets or new, temporary shops often sell illegally imported toys that often don’t meet strict toy safety requirements. These toys may seem like a bargain but they are not built to safe standards and could be dangerous for little ones. Trading Standards in Essex have recently issued warnings over the safety of imported ‘hoverboards’. Read more here.

The hidden dangers in that ‘innocent’ toy


Button batteries are especially dangerous. They aren’t just a choking risk, if a button battery gets stuck in the throat or gullet this can trigger the electrical charge they carry and create caustic soda (the chemical used to unblock drains!). This can burn a hole through the throat and lead to serious internal bleeding and death.

Choking has been found to be a leading cause of death in under-fives and a massive 40% of parents say they have witnessed their baby choking. Toys with small parts are not suitable for very young children so make sure you buy age appropriate toys as young children do not understand dangers as older children do. St John’s Ambulance has been running a campaign called The Chokeables which shows a video featuring the voices of David Walliams, David Mitchell, Johnny Vegas and Sir John Hurt showing parents how to stop a baby from choking.

A full house is a happy house

Family christmas

On the big day itself, make sure stairs are free from clutter. Children will be rushing around to find visitors, open presents and play with their new toys, so remove things that could cause a bad fall down stairs.

Make sure visitors to the house, such as grandparents, don’t leave medicines in places where children can find them, for example in handbags or counted out on bedside cabinets. Medicines are the most common cause of accidental poisoning in children, with everyday painkillers a frequent culprit.

And bear in mind that safety items you might have at home, such as stair gates and cupboard locks, might not be available where you are staying.