Preventing Strangulation and Suffocation
6 May, 2022

Preventing Strangulation and Suffocation

Baby and toddler lives continue to be lost in horrific accidents around the home.

Here are some tips to help in preventing strangulation and suffocation.

Top tips in preventing strangulation

Do:

  • tidy away all toys from around or adjacent to cots and junior beds before your child is settled down;
  • place out of reach, any form of cord. Examples might include light cords, bathroom robe ties, electric cables, curtain pull strings, dog’s leash, extension cables etc;
  • use cord-free clothes for your child at all times, particularly while they’re sleeping;
  • remove things like hoodies from babies and toddlers when they’re unsupervised or going to bed;
  • avoid using jewellery on your child’s neck, including ropestrings and necklaces;
  • remove your child’s crash helmet immediately after you’ve taken them off their bike or scooter etc. Don’t allow kids to play in them or any sort of hat/helmet that has a chin strap;
  • supervise any children’s games involving ropes, rope ladders or similar. A skipping rope can be instantly transformed into a lasso or climbing rope and that can be highly dangerous for younger children if they’re left alone;
  • ensure that there are no loose cloths or clothes (e.g. towels) on a baby or young toddler’s bed. Babies can twist and turn a lot in the night and something can easily be twisted around their neck;
  • not secure a dummy (comforter) to your baby’s body by anything, notably ribbons;
  • be cautious where younger toddlers and thin loose curtains are in close proximity to each other. Children can try to place curtains around their heads and if they fall, strangulation may result.

Top tips in preventing suffocation

Don’t:

  • ever leave plastic bags around younger children when they’re playing. Although some modern bags may have air holes in them for safety, many still do not and the results can be fatal;
  • put your baby down to sleep on their stomach;
  • have loose clothes and bedclothes on your child’s bed. Not only might this be a strangulation risk but younger babies can easily suffocate in loose fabrics;
  • leave gaps between the mattress and cot bars or the mattress and wall. A baby can slip into those gaps and suffocate easily;
  • improvise with mattresses. Use only those that are safety-approved;
  • allow your children to sleep on soft rugs or furnishings like sofas;
  • sleep alongside your baby in the same bed. Give them a cuddle with you but never in a position (like the middle of the night) where there’s a risk that you’ll fall asleep and suffocate your child;
  • leave smaller loose objects around that could be swallowed and block airways;
  • have normal locks on your refrigerators and freezers – they’re too easily opened by tiny prying fingers. There are options for retro-fitting childproof locks onto them;
  • have unsecured larger toy storage boxes that children can easily open and potentially climb into, getting stuck in the process. Use secure locks and it’s a good idea to make sure there are air holes drilled into them ‘just in case’.

Just a few basic precautions – but they might make all the difference.

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