Families in Cheshire West and Chester are being urged by local health partners the Royal Society for the Prevention Accidents (RoSPA) and The UK Cleaning Products Industry Association (UKCPI) to take action to protect their children from the risks of household cleaning products.
The local launch of RoSPA’s national Take Action Today, Put Them Away campaign – a scheme to encourage families with young children to think about the safe storage of cleaning products – took place at Blacon Children’s Centre.
The event, which advised local families on the best ways to avoid accidents and injuries, coincided with Child Safety Week and was led by children’s centre staff from Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP).
The day was supported by partners Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC), Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (CoCH) and NHS Vale Royal Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
Val Sturgess, head of clinical services, Starting Well at CWP, said: “I’m delighted that we’re able to shine a light on such an important topic.
“We know that accidental poisoning is a common cause of hospital admissions for children nationally.
“It is really important that we raise awareness to the dangers and provide parents and families with the advice and information they need to keep their children safe.”
As part of the campaign, a handy magnetic notepad featuring key safety advice will be handed out to at least 20,000 families in the area.
In Cheshire West and Chester, poisonings account for 14% of injury admissions for children aged 0-4.
Despite a slight drop in the five-year hospital admissions figure in the 2012-13 to 2016-17 period (compared to 2011-12 to 2015-16) the area is still above the average for the North West and England for the period.
Paediatric consultant at the Countess of Chester Hospital Dr Ravi Jayaram said: “Many parents of young children aren’t aware that apparently harmless household cleaning products can potentially cause significant harm to children if they put them in their mouths or if they come into contact with their eyes.
“Many of these products look like colourful sweets and can be very tempting to small children.
“It is really important for parents to be aware of the risks and to make sure that these products are stored away out of sight and out of reach.”
Councillor Louise Gittins, deputy leader and cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, said: “It was great to see so many families at the event.
“The Starting Well Service, based in children’s centres across west Cheshire, works closely with local families.
“Health visitors, early years workers, family nurses, school nurses and my wellbeing advisors all work together to help our children stay safe, happy and healthy, ensuring they have the best start in life.”