Warnings Over Child Safety At Christmas

The NHS are warning parents not to let their children near alcohol this Christmas.

Accident and Emergency departments in Norfolk and Suffolk are regularly seeing children who have drunk too much alcohol, sometimes after simply drinking what is leftover in their parent's glasses.

Dr Mash Maidraig from NHS Suffolk told Heart it's important not to leave drinks unattended:

"Children are very curious when their Mum and Dad are drinking and they think that drinking is okay, therefore they want to serve themselves and Mum and Dad may not notice. Alcohol is a poison. It takes about one hour to process a unit of alcohol, so we can imagine that even a small amount of alcohol can poison children."

The warning is part of NHS Suffolk's set of guidelines for parents to help keep their children safe this Christmas:

  1. Make sure you buy age-appropriate toys which meet current safety requirements. Inappropriate toys could have small parts that a child could easily swallow. Be vigilant about counterfeit goods which could present a danger to children.
  2. Tidy away the small toys found in Christmas crackers and keep batteries away from small hands.
  3. If staying with friends or relatives remember their home may not have the same safety features as yours e.g. stair gates or locks on cupboards.
  4. Remember the top bunk of bunk beds isn’t suitable for children under six-years old.
  5. Avoid trips and falls on the stairs by keeping them clear of clutter.
  6. One in 10 child accidents happen in the kitchen. There will be a lot of activity in the kitchen during Christmas, so keep children out to prevent burns and scalds.
  7. Keep alcoholic drinks out of reach. Even a small amount of alcohol can poison a young child.
  8. Lock away medicines in a medicine cabinet. If you have family or friends staying, make sure they don’t leave medicine on their bedside cabinet that could prove tempting to small children.
  9. Be careful with candles. Never leave candles unattended and keep candles away from discarded wrapping paper or plastic bags.
  10. Remember to turn off fairy lights before going to bed, as they could catch fire
  11. Check that your smoke alarm is working – and don’t be tempted to take out the batteries to use in Christmas toys
  12. Keep you and your family safe from the winter vomiting bug by regularly washing your hands with soap and water for 10 to 15 seconds

Dr Maidrag added: "Make sure that your children are safe and healthy by following these 12 simple rules. They’re not hard to follow and are based on common sense – they could make the difference between a happy Christmas or one spent in A&E.”

Despite all the excitement of the day, try and stay calm and enjoy yourself – however always stay vigilant to what your children are doing.”