Child home safety campaign launched by Aneurin Bevan health board

Josh WakehamJosh Wakeham was choked to death by the cord of a window blind at his home in Newport in January

A campaign to reduce the number of young children being killed or injured in accidents in the home is launched in Caerphilly county later.

The Aneurin Bevan Health Board’s Home Safety Strategy will offer advice sessions for parents and provide safety equipment to poorer families.

Public Health Wales says children in deprived areas are more likely to suffer injuries in the home.

The scheme also aims to improve data collection on why accidents happen.

The health board, serving the Gwent area of south east Wales, has worked with Flying Start, Public Health Wales and Children in Wales to put together a new approach to reducing accidents in the home.

The campaign is aimed at making life safer for infants and children under five years of age.

In March, Gwent coroner David Bowen recorded a verdict of accidental death on toddler Josh Wakeham, who was strangled by the cord of a window blind.

Josh, nearly two years old, became entangled as he looked out of his bedroom window in Newport.

Public Health Wales said more than 115,000 children under five were injured in the home in Wales every year, more than twice the number of five to nine-year-olds suffering similar injuries.

Karen McFarlane, child safety development officer for the charity Children in Wales, said fatalities were rare but far too many children were being injured in preventable accidents.

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We’re not looking to stop all accidents but aiming to reduce those involving second floor windows, scalds, poisoning, burns and other things that can be prevented”

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Karen McFarlane
Children in Wales

“We want to reduce the number of children being fatally injured, disabled or seriously hurt,” she said.

“We’re not looking to stop all accidents but aiming to reduce those involving second floor windows, scalds, poisoning, burns and other things that can be prevented.”

Last week a report by the charity showed that Wales was lagging behind Scotland in preventing child accidents but claimed its record was getting better.

The health board’s strategy aims to educate parents about the dangers in their homes.

Equipment such as safety gates and cupboard catches could also be given free of charge to poorer families.

Flying Start already operates home safety equipment schemes in the most deprived parts of the five counties involved – Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen.

Housing associations, the fire service and the Welsh Refugee Council will also give their input and ensure the message reaches all families.

Training will be given to key staff to improve the quality of advice being given to parents, and detailed data will be collected to identify the most serious problems.

Dr Gill Richardson, executive director of public health for the Aneurin Bevan health board, said: “By working with our partners, we are ensuring that a strategic approach is adopted and together we will make a difference in reducing the number of 0 to 5 year olds who suffer unintentional injuries at home.

“The launch event coincides with Child Safety Week which provides us with the ideal platform to talk about our plans to change the face of home safety in Wales.”

The new strategy – Reducing Unintentional Injuries in the Home for Children aged 0-5 years – is being launched at the Winding House, New Tredegar, on Tuesday.

Said to be the first of its kind in Wales, it is due to run for three years with other health boards expected to follow its progress closely.

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