Holiday Health and Safety

Have a sight test
Research from Vision Express finds that two in five children are likely to be heading back to school with undiagnosed eye sight issues.

In fact, they find that nearly 40 per cent of parents with children at primary school have never taken their child for an eye test despite the recommended screening age of five years.

Spokesperson for Vision Express, Sally Polak, said: “The early years are vital to put a stop to any eye related health problems later in life. To this end, we are encouraging families into store for an eye test, as all children under the age of 16 can have a free eye test on the NHS. We’re offering parents accompanying their child a free eye test too, so there’s really no excuse not too.”

As well as struggling to see the board, Joy Felgate of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust warns: “An eye test can not only reveal a problem with a child’s sight but could also flag up more serious eye conditions, including retinoblastoma, a rare form of childhood eye cancer, with 40 to 50 new cases of retinoblastoma diagnosed in the UK each year.”

Beware the bumps on the head
As children gear up to go mad on their scooters, bikes and skateboards, the Child Brain Injury Trust urges parents to make sure they wear helmets.

It is estimated the number of head injuries sustained by children during the next six weeks will increase by 30 per cent.

For the Child Brain Injury Trust, Lisa Turan says: “But what IS surprising is the amount of children who set out for summer fun without wearing any protective head gear.  Youngsters don’t think about the risk of brain injury when they jump on their bikes or head to the skate park.  But if they saw some of the children we support whose lives have changed in a split second through acquiring a brain injury, they would definitely think again”.

The Trust urges parents to make sure their children wear a protective helmet when necessary, not to dive head first into water and to tell an adult if they do bump their head.  After a head injury, watch out for:

Nausea or vomiting
Dizziness or disorientation
Trouble speaking clearly
Irritability and/or tearfulness
Blurred vision/dislike of bright light
Extreme tiredness

Parents are advised to take a children with severe symptoms straight to hospital and milder symptoms to the GP.

Don’t get ticked off
Building dens, crawling through undergrowth and forest walks are ideal on warm days, but do be aware of ticks Lyme Disease Action warns.

Ticks are tiny parasites at the peak of their population from April to October and found in parks as well as remote areas.

Lyme disease can be caught from infected ticks. The early symptoms include a circular red rash, headaches, a stiff neck, extreme fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and disturbances of sight, hearing, digestive system and sleep. If left untreated it can progress to the joints, the heart and the nervous system.

Lyme Disease Action is advising parents and their children to take the following precautions when walking through woods and overgrown areas of parks:

Wear long sleeves and trousers
Wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to spot
Use an insect repellent effective against ticks
Keep to pathways and try to avoid areas of overgrown vegetation
Check for ticks regularly during the day
Remove any ticks found attached as soon as possible
Pack a tick remover

On children, 60 per cent of bites will occur above the waist.

Stay safe abroad
UK families are being urged to stay safe whilst away from the home. Roger Cheetham of Clippasafe says: “Holidays are a great opportunity for families to visit somewhere new, soak up some sun and relax, but child safety should not be forgotten.

“Staying away from home, many families don’t take their usual precautions to keep their little ones safe, despite being in an unfamiliar place and often taking part in more hazardous activities.”

Clippasafe advise you to plan your holiday well and pack a first aid kid. Make sure all insurance documents and health insurance is up to date and valid. Remember to take small safety devices, such as socket covers and make sure there is nothing dangerous in the apartment such as a balcony to fall from. When visiting tourist attractions, have young children on a wrist strap, or arrange a meeting point for older children who become lost.