Home accident prevention showcased at this year’s Balmoral Show

Wednesday, 10 May 2017 – Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement
Home accident prevention showcased at this year’s Balmoral Show

In Northern Ireland in a typical week, two people die as a result of home accidents. In addition to these deaths, there are approximately 17,000 admissions to hospital each year as a result of unintentional injuries. However, accidents can easily be prevented by being aware of the dangers and hazards that are present in the home environment and taking steps to minimise the risks.

At this year’s Balmoral Show (10–13 May 2017) the Public Health Agency (PHA) in association with local councils in Northern Ireland are hosting a stand to raise awareness of home accident prevention.

Mary Black, Assistant Director of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement with the PHA, said: “It is impossible to watch over our children 24 hours a day, so it is essential that we take time to make the home environment as safe as possible.

“At this year’s show our stand will be highlighting some of the main risks of injury that can occur within the home such as falls, burns and scalds, drowning and strangulation. The stand will also display our recent blind cord safety video that raises awareness of the dangers of blind cords and the simple steps that can make your home safer. The video has already been hugely successful and reached many families across Northern Ireland, England and even as far as Australia.”

To help you on your way, we’ve compiled a list of tips to consider:

  • Examine every blind in your home. If they have a looped control chain or cord and do not have a safety device fitted, then you can easily install one of the many devices available.
  • Ensure that all operating blind cords and chains cannot be reached by children.
  • Move cots, beds and any furniture away from windows and blinds – remember children love to climb.
  • Keep children away from hazardous heat sources in the kitchen, for example, warm oven fronts, hot liquids, and ensure pot handles cannot be reached.
  • Testing the temperature of bath water using your elbow before you put your baby or toddler in the bath and never leave a child unattended.
  • Make sure household cleaners and medicines are out of the sight and reach of children away to avoid accidental poisoning or chemical burns.
  • Check that televisions, chests of drawers and shelving units are securely anchored to the wall as bulky, heavy furniture can seriously injure or even kill a small child if it falls on top of them.
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • If carrying out any DIY, avoid falls from height by checking a ladder’s condition before use and always supervise children, especially when power tools and lawnmowers are being used. Don’t forget to tidy up all equipment straight after the job is done.  
  • Empty the paddling pool after use – if you have a pond, turn it into a sandpit, fence it in or cover it while your children are small. Be alert to drowning risks when you visit friends and family.

“With an estimated 100,000 – 120,000 people expected to attend this year’s show, it offers an excellent platform to engage with a large and diverse audience, making them aware of the importance of home accident prevention. If you are attending the show this year visit our stand located in the Eikon Exhibition Centre within the Government Departments’ section to get advice on keeping your family safe and some free cleats for securing blind cords in your home.

“Don’t leave it until it is too late – taking simple steps to make our homes safer for every family member is the best way to help prevent accidents,” Mary concluded.

Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, said: “Many accidents in the home can easily be prevented by being aware of the risks and taking easy steps to reduce hazards. Children are particularly vulnerable as they are naturally curious about their surroundings and explore by crawling, climbing and putting things in their mouths. But of course we can’t watch our children 24 hours a day so we all need to take action to make our homes as safe as possible. The team at the Balmoral Show are giving simple, practical advice and tips on how to do just that.”