Kent Community Health learning nuggets

January 2013

Mags Trend, Community Staff Nurse at Kent Community Health NHS Trust, has used CAPT’s DVD resource packs on falls and burns and scalds to raise awareness of accident prevention among health visitors, children’s centre staff, community group volunteers and new parents.

Mags’ commitment to child accident prevention stems from spending 15 years as a nurse in a paediatric accident and emergency department. “Over the years I saw so many young children with serious yet easily preventable injuries,” explains Mags. “I now work in the community and want to help parents to understand how to prevent serious accidents. The health visiting team that I work within and the local children’s centres provide a great deal of support to help me achieve this goal.”

Training resources

Knowing that scalds, burns and falls are some of the main causes of serious accidental injuries among under ones, Mags decided to run a training session for the health visiting team and children’s centre staff to help them learn more about these safety risks. During the training session, Mags used CAPT’s Too Hot to Handle and Look Who’s Falling DVD resource packs to engage the audience in the topic and stimulate discussion.

Mags also invited a volunteer who organises a large parent and toddler group at a local church to attend the training session. “The health visiting team runs a child health clinic alongside the parent and toddler group, and our risk assessment process had highlighted the presence of hot drinks at the group as a potential concern,” explains Mags. “We all know it’s nice for parents to sit down and have a cup of tea or coffee when they’re at a children’s centre or a playgroup, and that it can be difficult to tell them that this won’t be possible. However, if you’re able to explain the reasons why you’ve stopped serving hot drinks, then parents are very likely to accept the change.”

Hot drinks were only available at a few of the groups run by the children’s centres, but at the end of the training session, the children’s centre staff agreed that they would fully implement a ‘no hot drinks’ policy. After seeing how serious hot drink scalds can be, the parent and toddler group volunteer also decided that it would be in the best interests of everyone who attends the group if no hot drinks were served.

Engaging new parents

The children’s centres offer a parenting course to all new parents in the local area. Mags leads a session on accident prevention as part of the course, alongside a children’s centre staff member who talks about the services they offer. “Most of the babies are around 3-4 months old and I talk to the parents about the stages of child development. I try to use the parents’ own experiences to generate discussion. For example, if someone mentions how their child has suddenly learnt to reach out and grab, I talk about the safety measures that parents need to think about at this stage – such as keeping hot drinks well out of reach.”

Mags says that watching the Too Hot to Handle DVD, which features stories of young children who have been burned or scalded, helps parents to see how easily these kinds of accidents can happen. “The films are very engaging and I think they give parents the confidence to make decisions that reduce the risk of burns and scalds, like telling friends and family not to leave hot drinks near the edge of a table.”

Sharing good practice

To make it possible for other members of the health visiting team to deliver the accident prevention session if they need to, Mags has created a lesson plan that explains what the session covers and which resources to use, as well as prompt questions for stimulating discussion. Mags has plans to present the accident prevention session to other health visiting teams in the area, to encourage them to build the session into their programmes for new parents.

“By using the lesson plan I’ve developed and the DVD resource packs from CAPT, the health visiting team has a very straightforward, ready-made session on accident prevention for new parents. I hope other teams will see how easy it will be to implement and be keen to starting offering it in their area.”

What we can learn

  • In settings where hot drinks are served and young children are present, you can encourage the individuals in charge to think about the risk of hot drink scalds by watching and then discussing the films in CAPT's Too Hot to Handle DVD resource pack. This will help them to reach their own decisions about whether to continue serving hot drinks.
  • New parents are naturally interested in the different stages of child development and you can use this interest to draw their attention to the main safety risks at each stage.
  • Creating a lesson plan for your accident prevention awareness session helps to make sure that it can still be delivered if you're not available on the day. It also makes it easier for colleagues in other areas to implement the session.

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Updated October 2013