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969 Take action today – put them away
  1. Sheila Merrill
  1. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RSPA)


Background Every year thousands of infants need medical care for poisoning from products commonly found around the home. Whilst long term injury is rare, the distress caused and the impact on hospital services could be avoided by increased awareness. Because of their inquisitive nature, most accidental poisonings happen to children under-five, predominantly aged one to three.

Description RoSPA set up a major pilot programme in 2013 to prevent child accidents in the home from cleaning products. Launched in six cities and delivered through at least 120 local partners, the programme provided risk assessment tools and materials, which equiped both professional and consumers with skills and knowledge to ensure they were able to recognise potential dangers. The scheme provided families with a free handy magnet pad featuring safety advice.

Results professionals benefitted from receiving education, while 240,000 families received advice and resources. Media coverage reached over 4 million people via television, radio and newspapers. Social Media was also at the heart of this campaign. Evaluation included a survey of both practitioners and families with positive feedback in the awareness of dangers and behaviour change. Early indications show that in the cities targeted, there has been a drop in the number of children attending emergency departments due to poisoning.

Conclusions The programme educated professionals and families on poisoning dangers in the home and has seen an initial reduction in hospital admissions in target areas. People were more receptive to educational resources that fit into their lifestyle and home. A majority of families also said they had taken action or shared safety messages after their encounter with the programme.

  • Home Poisoning in the home
  • Home Safety
  • Accident/Injury Prevention
  • Child Safety

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