Trading Standards Services in the North West of England are mounting a safety campaign which aims to increase awareness of child accidents involving button cell batteries, plastic nappy sacks, window blind cords and detergent liquitabs.
Trading Standards North West (TSNW) which comprises 23 local Trading Standards authorities from across the region, working with the National Trading Standards board, is highlighting the potential danger that these items can pose to babies and young children.
At least 10 babies have died in England and Wales from suffocation after pulling plastic nappy sacks onto their faces. Nappy sacks are used to place dirty nappies in prior to disposal, but the sacks are often left in the same environment as the baby. The thinness of the plastic means that they can cling to babies’ faces when they breath in, leading to an obstruction of the nose and mouth.
Since 1999, there have been at least 27 fatalities across the UK where babies and young children have become accidentally entangled in internal window blind cords and chains. The youngsters have become caught in the cords when playing, climbing or exploring near window blinds, and the cords have become wrapped around their necks, tightening and strangling them.
Cases from Scotland have been identified where young children have been injured after biting or placing colourful detergent liquitabs in their mouths, often mistaking them for sweets. Liquitabs are a popular alternative to traditional powder or liquid detergents and are used in washing machines and dishwashers. However, they contain strong alkaline chemicals which can burn and make the throat swell if ingested.
And incidents have been identified of children putting in their mouths and swallowing small, button cell batteries of the type which are commonly found in toys, remote controls, calculators and other small electrical devices. Lithium batteries react with saliva to leak acid and this can occur within as little as an hour. If a child swallows a battery it can cause severe trauma such as acid damage to the throat or stomach or further damage to other internal organs.
As part of the campaign, 4 safety posters have been produced which provide safety advice in relation to each of the issues identified and which are intended to be displayed in places where parents and carers of babies and children will see them.
The posters are being distributed to various locations such as GP surgeries, libraries and children’s nurseries in order for them to be displayed.
It is hoped that doing so will contribute to the aim of improving child safety and reducing child accidents.
Steven Brimble, chair of the TSNW Product Safety Group said:”Child safety is of utmost importance to all Trading Standards authorities across the North West. We want to take this opportunity to increase awareness of the potential dangers that these everyday household items can pose to babies and young children.
“We would urge parents to ensure button cell batteries, detergent liquitabs and nappy sacks are kept well away from children and stored in places where children can’t get access to them.
“Looped window and blind cords should be tied up so they are out of reach of children or one of the many cleats, cord tidies or clips that are available from blind retailers or hardware stores used. Cots, high chairs and play pens should not be put near a window in order to prevent children from climbing up and reaching curtains and blinds.”