Health & Safety



Taking steps to spot and guard against potential dangers in and around your home is an important part of your role as a parent. The RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) website has lots of great advice on all aspects of this:

Burns and Scalds

Burns and scalds have the potential to cause serious, painful and sometimes life-threatening injuries to naturally inquisitive babies and young children. It is important as a parent to take precautions.”

What can you do to keep me safer at home?

  • Place guards around heated areas like radiators and pipes. Do not place beds against radiators.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of sight and out of reach.
  • Always place hot drinks out of children’s reach, and don’t drink anything hot with a baby or child on your lap or in your arms.
  • If you can, keep children out of the kitchen.
  • Use a cordless kettle.
  • Use the back rings on the cooker and keep saucepan handles away from the edge.
  • Before bathing your baby or child, check that the water isn’t too hot. A good test is to use your elbow, and always put cold water in the bath first, before running the hot tap.
  • Turn off all electrical equipment that you are not using, especially at night.
  • Hair straighteners and curling wands can cause serious injury. Make sure that they are turned off after use. Put them in a heat resistant bag and make sure that both the straighteners/wand and the electric cord is out of reach.
  • Ensure that your house has a working smoke alarm(s) and that a carbon monoxide monitor is fitted.
  • Never let children play with fireworks.

Falls and Poisoning

Falls - 

Although simple trips and bumps are part of a typical childhood, more serious falls can cause more serious injuries.

What can you do to keep baby safer at home?

  • Once baby starts crawling, fit safety gates to stop baby climbing the stairs or falling down them.
  • When buying a highchair, check that it has a five-point harness, like the ones fitted to pushchairs. Make sure that you strap baby into their highchair every time you use it.
  • Fit safety catches or locks to all the windows in your house.
  • If you fit window locks, put the keys somewhere safe.


There are lots of items – both in and outside of your home – that could cause serious harm to your child if they were to gain access to them.

What can you do to keep baby safer at home?

  • Make sure that painkillers, medicines, e-cigarettes and air fresheners are put away somewhere safe. They are all very poisonous to children, and can be fatal.
  • Liquitabs (for laundry) may look like sweets, toys or teething products to young children. They are highly toxic and can cause severe problems if swallowed, or if their contents come into contact with skin or eyes.
  • Store all household cleaning products out of reach. Safety caps and lids slow children down, but don’t rely on them to stop a child accessing the contents.
  • Discourage children from eating any plants or fungi when outside.
  • Check that the battery compartment on toys, remote controls and other electric devices is secure. Lock away spare batteries.


Drowning and Choking

Babies can drown in as little as 5 cm of water.

What can you do to keep baby safer at home?

  • Never leave a baby or child in the bath unsupervised, not even for a minute.
  • Never leave a baby or child alone in a bath seat.
  • Always supervise and stay with children at all times in swimming and paddling pools.
  • Always empty paddling pools and store them away when not in use.
  • If you have a pond, always supervise children closely, fence off the pond or fill it in.
  • Always be careful when children visit gardens or parks that have ponds, lakes or pools.
  • Always be careful around the sea and shoreline. Waves and tides can be unpredictable and can drag you out to sea in seconds.


Babies can choke very easily, even on their milk.

What can you do to keep baby safer at home?

  • Remember to keep small objects out of reach. Small pliable balls, – such as foam marbles – Lego, coins and safety pins can all be choking hazards. Choose toys that are designed for the age of your child.
  • Avoid teething necklaces, as babies and children can choke on the small beads, as well as posing a strangulation risk.
  • Don’t leave children unsupervised with balloons, as they can bite them.
  • Keep children seated when eating, and always supervise babies and young children at meal times.

Be aware of high-risk foods for choking:

  • Small, round food items such as: sweets, including lollipops; popcorn; grapes; cherries; and cherry tomatoes – the round shape heightens the risk (and the pips can also get stuck further down the throat);
  • Hard fruit and vegetables, like apples, pears, peas, celery and carrots;
  • Hot dogs/frankfurters/sausages, burgers, chunks of cheese and meatballs – again, the round shape heightens the risk;
  • Banana, when cut round-shaped, or if too soft it can mould to and obstruct the airway;
  • Peanut butter (which, like banana, can mould to and obstruct the airway), nuts and seeds.

Asphyxiation/Suffocation and Strangulation

Babies and young children can suffocate on nappy sacks, as they love to put things in their mouths, but find it hard to take them out. There’s also a risk of something called positional asphyxiation from car seats. This can occur when a baby – without the strength to lift their heads to breathe – slouches down or forward in a car seat or infant rocker, causing their airway to close. The risk is greater for premature, small and low birth weight babies.

What can you do to keep baby safer at home?

  • Always keep nappy sacks, plastic bags and other wrapping away from babies and young children.
  • Be aware of other suffocation hazards around the home.
  • Keep animals – especially cats – out of baby’s bedroom.
  • DON’T place nappy sacks in or near a baby’s cot or pram.
  • Baby car seats are designed to keep your baby safe and secure during a car journey and should not be used as a general place for baby to sleep or nap.
  • Where possible, babies in car seats should be supervised by another adult and have frequent breaks on car journeys.


The cords or chains on window or door blinds or curtains can pose a real risk to babies and young children. A number of children have sadly died or suffered serious injury as a result of blind cord strangulation.

What can you do to keep baby safer at home?

  • Choose blinds and curtains without cords.
  • Move all beds, cots, highchairs and playpens away from all cords and chains attached to window coverings.
  • Make sure that all cords and chains are always safely secured out of the reach of babies and young children.
  • Do not tie cords or chains together, and make sure that all cords or chains do not twist and create a loop.
  • Move all furniture away from cords or chains attached to window coverings, as children love to climb.

Be aware of other potential strangulation hazards within reach of baby around the home, such as:

  • clothing with cords, ribbons or belts;
  • dummies on ribbons or chains;
  • bag straps, especially the drawstring type;
  • electric cords on baby monitors; and
  • toys or mobiles which have been suspended above baby’s  cot or bed.




Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs.

Children – especially premature babies and infants – can be more susceptible to developing sepsis.

Without quick treatment, sepsis can be very serious.  If you suspect that your baby has sepsis, call 999 immediately, and ask: “could it be sepsis?”.

For further information on sepsis and its symptoms, please visit:

There is also a useful, short video on sepsis and the symptoms to look out for via the NHS Choices website:

First Aid Kit / Seizures

When your precious new baby arrives, one of your biggest concerns is going to be how to keep them safe. Organisations such as Mini First Aid, Red Cross and St John Ambulance run family first aid courses, and DadPad recommends that you attend one. However, there are some key pieces of information which are worth being aware of when caring for your baby.

First Aid Kit

It’s important to have a well-stocked first aid kit in the

house, and another one in your bag or car, for when you are out and about.

Key items to include are:

•       Hypo-allergenic plasters

•       Individually-wrapped wipes

•       Scissors

•       Tweezers

•       Safety pins

•       Sterile dressings

•       Burn gel

•       Micropore tape

Febrile Seizures and Convulsions

Raised temperatures in babies and young children can sometimes cause them to suffer febrile seizures and convulsions.

Symptoms include:

•       Violent muscle twitching

•       Hot, flushed skin

•       Twitching of the face

•       Breath holding

•       Loss of consciousness

If you think this is happening to your child, do the following:

•       Call 999

•       Protect your child with pillows and padding, so that they cannot injure themselves

•       Remove their clothing

•       Ensure that they have a fresh supply of air

•       Check that they are breathing – if not, follow the instructions over the page

•       Place your child in the recovery position, lying on their side, with their head tilted back



Having to cope with a real medical emergency – such as if your baby starts choking (choking is when the airway gets blocked and the child cannot breathe properly), or stops breathing – is something that none of us want to think about, and hopefully you won’t need to, but it’s essential to know what to do if the worst should happen.

Choking Baby

In an older child, the first step would be to see if they are capable of coughing for themselves and, if they are, to encourage them to keep doing so. However, a baby won’t be able to do this, and you’ll need to help them to dislodge the item causing difficulties.

  • You first perform five back blows:
  • If this doesn’t succeed, then move on to perform five chest thrusts:

You need to call 999 to get help and continue this process until the object is dislodged.

You can find classes that will take you through aspects of Baby First Aid in your local area to help you gain confidence with the skills you’ll need in case you have to administer first aid.


Meningitis / Burns


Meningitis can be very serious. If you suspect your baby has meningitis you must call 999 or 111 immediately, so they can get to hospital to be treated as soon as possible.

If someone has meningitis, they won’t usually show all the symptoms and signs at the same time, but these are the key things to look for:

  • Abnormal drowsiness
  • Fever/high temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Reluctance to feed
  • Crying, restlessness
  • Headache
  • Dislike of light
  • Rash
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Rigid neck muscles
  • Possible convulsions or loss of consciousness


The faster and longer the burn is cooled, the less impact the injury will have.

What to do:

• Call 999 or seek medical advice for all babies and children with burns

• Stop the burning process

• Remove any constricting clothing

• Keep the affected area under cold running water for at least 10 minutes

• Take care not to cool the whole child - keep them warm

• Cover the area in clingfilm to protect it from infection

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)

If you discover that your baby is unresponsive and not breathing normally, it is important that you know what to do to give your baby the best chance of survival.

In any emergency situation, always check airways and breathing first, following the steps outlined in the coloured boxes:

To perform chest compressions place either two fingers (baby) or one hand (child) in the centre of the chest. At a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute, press the chest down by one-third of its depth. Continue with cycles of 30 compressions followed by two rescue breaths until help arrives.

For a small baby, place your mouth over the baby’s nose and mouth, and breathe into the baby for one second, two times.