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2 to 4 Safety First at Home, 4 to 7 Being Safe at Home

What is 'Home Safety'?

Children are vulnerable to a wide range of potential dangers within the home. These include trips, slips and falls; fire and heat; sharp objects; poisoning; electrical shock; drowning and suffocation. Children under the age of five are particularly at risk, suffering nearly 45% of all burns and scalds (Department for Education, 2008).

The curricula for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland emphasise keeping safe as a core aspect of children's learning. 'Stay Safe' is one of the five core elements of Every Child Matters and 'Chapter 2: Safe and Sound' of The Children's Plan (Department for Education) also emphasises schools' role in making sure children know how to stay safe.

As lifelong habits (including safe behaviour) are embedded from an early age, Nationwide Education's Home Safety programmes begin with children aged two and then develop and consolidate this knowledge as the child grows. These resources aim to help both teachers and parents deliver important messages about staying safe, and help children learn how to minimise risks.

Nationwide Education's Home Safety programmes for early years foundation stage and primary include:

  • Safety First at Home (aimed at ages 2 – 4)
  • Being Safe at Home (aimed at ages 4 – 7)
  • Staying Safe at Home (aimed at ages 7 – 11).

Each of these programmes links directly to guidance on the teaching of safety in the UK curricula and focuses on four key areas of home safety:

  • Trips, Slips and Falls
  • Fire and Heat
  • Sharp Things
  • Poisons

The resources also help schools meet the requirements of Every Child Matters and The Children's Plan (Department for Education). Please see the Curriculum Links for information about how these resources link to the UK curriculum objectives.

Why is home safety education important?

According to healthcare professionals, four children are admitted to hospital every hour due to accidents in the home (Child Accident Prevention Trust, 2010).

Young children are the most vulnerable and at risk of being involved in an accident at home. They run around at a frantic pace with boundless energy, eager to explore the world around them without realising the dangers.

The majority of children's accidents happen in and around the home. Some of these involve minor bumps and scrapes but many involve more serious injuries resulting in scarring, disfigurement, permanent disability or even death. In most of these cases, the injury or fatality was easily preventable, if only safety precautions had been taken and the child had a greater knowledge of potential hazards.

According to the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, treating unintentional injuries among children and young people costs UK Accident and Emergency departments approximately £146 million a year. For example, treatment for a single severe bath water scald can cost £250,000. The ongoing pain, suffering and emotional costs for the victim and his or her family are, of course, immeasurable, and can also affect friends, teachers, neighbours, doctors, emergency services – everyone associated with the victim and the incident – directly and indirectly.