Safety advice is 'wheely good'

3rd December 2004 at 00:00
The modern world is a dangerous place. For the small child, all sorts of perils abound beyond the doorstep.

And now a new charity has been set up to help them avoid the deathtraps of everyday life. The Children's Safety Education Foundation, launched this week, aims to promote the safety, social, health and citizenship education of young people. Its literature warns that "every hour, 256 children are taken to hospital following accidents".

Patrick O'Malley, director of corporate development, tells of a child who placed a candle on the television, only to find that it melted the casing and burned the house down. Another fell victim to hypothermia while swimming. He said: "Dangers are ever-present. Children need to know how to pick up a bread-knife safely, or why they shouldn't fly kites near electricity cables. If they come across someone unconscious on the pavement, they need to know if they're injured or just drunk."

To help children to cope with such situations, the charity provides a series of brightly coloured booklets for teachers and school liaison officers. On the assumption that bad puns are not among the dangers that children need to be protected from, titles include Wheely Good Fun, dealing with road safety, and Will Power's Beware, a drug-prevention guide.

Mr O'Malley said: "You can't bombard children with messages about potential hazards, because the world will become very frightening for them. But there are dangers out there, and they need to formulate their own opinions in an informed way.

"You hear about young children who administer first aid with only a basic knowledge. If you educate people young, you increase the number of people able to deal with these situations."

Liam McGurrin, head of St John Fisher primary, in Sheffield, said: "There have always been dangers. But they've mushroomed enormously recently. We are forewarning pupils, giving them the wherewithal to handle decisions at the right time."

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