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Health and Safety in General

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      21.08.2010 20:47
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      Protect Yourself from the Product Recall.

      Hello Im a new member and this is my first review, sorry folks its not a great one, its one many of you need to know about though. I purchased two e-systems 4213 laptops. One of which blew up on my lap on the first of August 2010. I suffered burns, my carpet went on fire as I threw the laptop, before an almighty firework explosion occured. Lucky for myself and my family we got the laptop out of the patio doors before the whole house went down.. Here is my warning to you the consumer.... you dont always see the advertising on the web, in fact its difficult to find, that says product recall. You trust your product will be safe. After liasing with the Dixons group and visiting my local store I was given a list of Products being recalled. This includes e-system, advent, compaq and HP. To check if your laptop is subject to batteries being faulty " at risk of fire or burns" (direct quote from Currys mailings) go to www.checkmybattery.com The Productive Investigation Rep is accepting liability, but claiming laptops are not to be used on the lap. Every definition I have googled claims laptops are portable devices to be used on the lap. Currys are keen to resolve this problem before many people with overheating laptops send them back, claim for new batteries, or suffer further injury. Hope this helps and prevents people from being hurt as I was. Be Safe.

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        02.03.2009 18:11
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        as safe as possible will never be kiddy proof as you never know what they are going to do next

        When nearly 6 years ago we had our first child everyone had said to me about safety items but i though no we wont need any of them and boy was i wrong. My first child wasnt too bad she wasnt realy a messer who got into everything so my safety items purchased with her were two safety gates to go on the stairs one at the top the other at the bottom to stop her being able to fall down the stairs, i think these are a must for any parent with a stair case. I purchased door stoppers which are c shaped pieces of rubber that fit around the door to stop her being able to get her fingers caught in the door which worked brilliantly. Then arrived my second and boy were we in trouble this time, Our troubles started when she was just 10 months old and had realised if she pulled her self up the side of her cot she could lean her head over and drop out of the cot, as you know cot sides are quite high so i was worred about her getting rurt so got her a bed with a safety rail which i brought from the argos for around £15 to stop her rolling out of bed, This didnt stop her scrawling around the up stairs of our house at all hours of the night though so i had to buy another stair gate for her bedroom door to stop her escaping. Now she was crawling nothing was safe, there were till reciepts, food and any thing else small enough to fit through the hole in my video player so i brought a safety kit which contained a video guard which was a piece of plastic that stopped her being able to put things in the video, included in this set there were also socket covers for the plugs which i thought better to be safe than sorry and they are still there now even though they are now 4 and nearly 6 years old. Cupboard doors were our next big bug bear, i had the rubber bungs on the normal house doors but my little one would get the cupboard doors and bang them, and on occasions trap her fingers which luckily was never seriously hurt. I brought a pack of plastic locks for these doors which i think i have reviewed previously, they are in two pieces and to get the cupboard or drawer open you have to push the one piece down to release the catch, these didnt work at all she soon got the hang of these and the biggest problem with them was that the gap was very small that you had to get your fingers in so my hubby couldnt undo the locks. I resorted to putting elastic bands around the cupboard handles to hold them together and i have no idea why but she never managed to work these out. As the children got older and could reach the handle on my external doors they got into a habbit of wandering out when ever they wanted too, and although the garden is secure i needed to know when they had opened the door becuse of the animals escaping, i got some door alarms from instore, 4 in a pack that when they are opened sounds an alarm so i always know when they open the doors now. As well as this i had to put viv locks on all the vivariums to stop them opening the doors on the cages and loosing the animals out. Just as i thought our problems with safety were over and we could start to relax my daughters were cutting up christmas cards and making pictured with them using childrens sizzors from the early learning center, my youngest cut her pig tail off with the sizzors to my horror. I have now banned all sizzors There are numerous things you can do to make your home safe for your child but you will never be able to kiddy proof everything.

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          01.03.2009 22:25
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          Safe baby proof houses

          There are so many practical ways that you can make your house safe for little toddlers and some of them are mostly common sense however it is always a good idea to get another pair of eyes into the house as they will se things that you are used to and so do not see the risk, when I was having my niece over to stay for the very first time I was paranoid about making sure the house was safe for her as she was at the crawling into everything stage and you had to watch her like a hawk. The first thing that I did was to get safety plugs installed in all the sockets so little fingers could not get into places they should not. I then removed all of the cleaning stuff from under the sink and this went into a box in the garage. We also had a massive clean up to ensure as much clutter was removed and that she had plenty of big spaces in which to crawl, it was amazing as well how much stuff we then could throw away as we realised we never used it or the magazines were very old and would never get looked at again. Finally we borrowed a couple of stair gates to make sure that the stairs were secure. If I had her staying longer term or oldr kids I would definately consider a door alarm which would let me know when it was opened. You can take things to extreme but I reckon it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

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            25.01.2009 04:10
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            Self harm isn't a prelude to suicide. Self harm is normally a way to help them continue life

            Self harm... what DO you do when your child - or someone you know self harms? Well...you have a right to be upset. But it's worth understanding a few things first. Firstly don't take away their ability to self-harm. They will always find a way to self harm if and when they need to. By taking away all knives, scissors, bleach etc you may just make them feel more miserable and isolated. Not only this but you are taking away from them the one thing that stops them feeling stressed - which may make them even more likely to self harm again. Next tell them that you will support and help them as much as you can (or ideally get a professional in to help). Try to talk to them and find out why they want to self harm - don't make assumptions. Many teenagers will self harm as a result of all kinds of stresses - perhaps they are being bullied at school, or are worried about their exams, or their parents have just separated, or they have other issues in their past that they are having a hard time dealing/coping with. Self harm isn't just cutting arms by the way - it can be drinking bleach, burning, bruising/punching, pulling out hair-all manner of things in fact. Even alcohol abuse is a form of self harm. Recognise that self harm is a way that someone can relieve their stress - and it can stop them from wanting to commit suicide. Many say that the bad feelings grow inside them until they want to explode - and self harm acts as a way to release this pressure. Very rarely does it lead to death - and when it does it is usually accidental. It is a form of control (a little like anorexia )... self harmers can chose WHEN they self harm, WHERE they harm, HOW they harm - they have complete control over this part of their life. Sometimes they relate that during this time they are in a dream -like state and feel little or no connection to the real world... and that they self harm in order to be able to FEEL something. Once you find out WHY they self harm offer them support and try to explore ways in which they can try and control their feelings/alleviate the pressure inside them, without self harming. For example some people find that writing with red ink on their arm instead of cutting can help. Others find that putting a plastic band around their arm and pinging it can also help. Next find ways to make self harming safer - so don't stop them from doing it but make sure they do it more safely. For example, suggest that they use a blade once only and throw it away after use. Get them to learn first aid so that they know how to take care of themselves after self harming - and get them to understand when they need to seek immediate medical help/advice. Get them to treat cuts and use creams to reduce scaring. Try to get them to think about ways in which they can reduce their self harming - perhaps cutting less deeply etc... If they self harm again, do comment on their injury in the same way as if they had done it accidentally and feel for them/commisserate with them. Many self harmers feel like they are the only ones doing it. Often they don't do it for attention (although some do) but its a way that they have found to cope with the pressure - and to stop the pressure from exploding. Its a way which works for them and it's addictive. Some self harmers say that after they have self harmed it then gives them permission to be nice to themselves and to curl up and treat their body nicely. I hope these tips will help you talk to someone who self harms and give you the courage to help them and to sympathise with them - rather than making them feel worse than they already do. Unfortunately I think self-harmings seems to be more prevalent that many years ago - perhaps its all the pressure on young people nowadays? Websites providing further information/advice are as follows: http://www.rethink.org http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk http://www.connexions-direct.com http://www.selfharm.net/ http://www.childline.org.uk The first point of contact can also be your local GP/local Health Centre. Best of luck!

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              03.11.2008 12:32
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              Health and safety- baby gates are a must

              Health and safety where children are concerned is paramount. I have a one year old son, who has been walking for the past month. Obviously as he gets his legs used to the walking, or his legs get tired, he falls over alot. I have had alot of near missed. I thought that my house was relatively safe for him, but, alas no. I have attached cupboard door locks in the kitchen, and baby gates are a definate great investment!! I put a baby gate at the bottom of our stairs, but the best buy was a baby gate I found in the Next directory. Our downstairs is all open plan, which my boy loved as he could get to anywhere. The archway into our kitchen is too wide for a standard baby gate, but I found one for wider doorways in Next. It is a Lindam wooden extending gate, and costs £25.99. It has made life so much easier for me. Definately recommended!!

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                22.07.2002 12:24
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                Any one with a baby knows how expensive the baby wipes can get. It is possible to make your own which can be better than some of the wipes on the market. It also saves a bit of money. I am an American so I do not know what type of product brands you have in your area. I also converted measures as closely as I could for the metric system. First you need a roll of paper towels Bounty or Brawny are the best that I have used. I mostly use the Bounty Select-a-size. You also need your favorite liquid bath soap, I prefer Baby Magic Baby bath. Also white vinegar, baby oil and water are needed. You need a container to store the wipes in. I use a margarine container (the large economy sized one). You need to cut a hole in the center of the top the size of a dime, I do not cut it completely I cut it into a little flap. You can use a Rubbermaid (simalar to tupperware but cheaper) three quart (about 2.8 liter) container as well. The most difficult part is cutting the roll of paper towels in half. One roll will make two things of wipes. Take the cardboard roll out of the center and discard it. Next you need to measure the liquids. You need 2 1/4 cups(591 ML) of water, 2 tablespoons of liquid bath soap, 1 tablespoon (30 ML)of baby oil and 1 tablespoon (15 ML)of white vinegar. You mix the liquids and pour over the paper towels and allow some time for it to saturate the roll. You place the saturated roll of paper towels into the container and thread a wipe from the center of the roll through the hole in the top of the container. You then place the top on the container and you are done. When you use the wipes you simply pull a couple out and do the deed. The wipes feel thin but really give you a good barrier against the poop. The soap of course cleanses, the oil moisturizes and the vinegar acts as a preservative and I have heard helps protects against yeast infections. If your baby has dry skin you can add a little more baby oil. Same with the vinegar if your child gets yeast rashes. Be careful with the vinegar as I would imagine it could sting if the skin is raw. The cost is very low (I don't know the conversion for the euro or pound). The roll of paper towels is $1.99 and I figure the cost of liquids to be about $.28 for the whole roll of paper towels. You get two batches of wipes for about $2.30 which is a bargain. The wipes last me about two weeks with the twins. But it depends upon how much they poop. I still buy regular wipes to carry in the diaper bag since they are less bulky and easier to use when on the go. I have never had any problems with irritation and have been using them for about 10 months. I have an extra container for the wipes and make both batches at the same time. The top on the extra container does not have a hole, so it doesn't dry out. I add just a little more vinegar on this roll to preserve it while in storage. I just switch the tops on the containers when I start the second roll.

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                  20.07.2002 06:52
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                  The sun seems to be shining longer and brighter so we take our children to the garden to play but please remember to take care to ensure all is safe and well. A child's vivid imagination can turn any object into a toy or game whatever their surroundings. But with ponds, pesticides, prickly bushes and pests, it?s important your garden is a safe place. Active play stimulates active minds so fill your garden with play equipment such as swings and slides ensuring that wooden equipment is splinter free. Always build structures such as climbing frames on a soft surface, such as bark chip at least 15cm thick should provide adequate cushioning and protect against grazed knees. Consider planting small to medium trees such as ornamental crab apples, the dwarfer flowering cherries or even multi-stemmed silver birch to help screen the play area and to prevent the neighbour's from feeling they are being spied on! A shed will be essential for storing toys, bikes as well as your tools but always amake sure it is locked with all harmful products high on shelves out of the way. Sandpits and paddling pools enable your children to get their hands dirty and be creative! These are especially good for small gardens, as they can be covered and stored away in the event of bad weather or if the area is needed for something else. Ensure you use washed sand or play sand If you make a permanent sandpit this can later be made into a herb garden or raised bed. Ponds can be a safety hazard but if you do have one, consider fixing mesh just below the waterline so that small hands cannot handle fish and minimise the risk of drowning should anyone fall in. Always ensure that any playing area, particularly those involving water and sand, is situated close to the house and not shielded from view. And keep an eye on choldren at all times to ensure no accidents happen. The garden lawn is the perfect s urface for most ball games as it not only provides cushioning when children fall, but it can also be marked or mown in different directions to form specific zones or pitches. Avoid plants that are poisonous such as Laburnum or can cause blisters and skin inflammation, such as Euphorbia. Avoid trees and shrubs with thorns or spines, such as roses, which may injure small children. Choose a variety which has been developed without thorns, such as 'Congratulations', a rose-pink Hybrid Tea Rose which features an abundance of well-shaped blooms on long thorn-free shoots. Plants such as Alyssum, Helianthus, Papaver and Chrysanthemum, attract wildlife including butterflies and birds which are a great source of interest and education for any age group. A bird bath or feeding table will proved lots of entertainment as wella s education, but takle care to secure to prevent youngsters climbing them. With careful choice of plants and clever garden design, your garden should stimulate your child's imagination without compromising their safety.

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                    07.07.2002 01:54
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                    • "not the best way to choose a seat to fit your car"

                    Travel systems (where an infant carrier car seat can be attached to the chassis of a pram or pushchair) have become increasingly popular in recent years; however, there are a number of points to consider when choosing this type of pushchair. Most travel systems consist of a pushchair that can take an infant carrier first stage car seat. These are often very small, and although can be used for up to 9 months in a car, may be unsuitable for comfortable use with a larger baby. There has also been a lot of concern from medical professionals regarding the use of travel systems. A lot of parents are mistakenly under the impression that the car seat is to be used in place of a carrycot, for the early months of a baby's life. This is not the case. Young babies, especially when sleeping should lie flat, wherever possible. The position of the infant carrier was developed as the safest position for babies to travel in a vehicle, not for other transportation. Very young babies tend to lie very curled in the "pit" of an infant carrier which is a very unsuitable position for sleeping. There is concern that extended use, which is easily accumulated over a few months of use, could lead to problems in the infants' delicate neck and spine. There is also evidence to show increased reflux in infants kept in this position, leading to regurgitation of feeds. A new report by the American academy of pediatricians shows a more worrying result. Babies both premature and full term, were shown to have lower blood oxygen levels after spending 1 hour in the infant carrier. This is obviously something all parents would wish to avoid. Whilst the concept of a travel system is basically good, the reality is that the problems could outweigh any convenience. If you only ever make very short trips then a travel system may be the best choice for you, but you are limited once you are out and about with your baby, keeping watch of your time, and worrying if you are out longer than expected. I see many expectant parents and parents with young babies in the course of my job, and many of them have chosen a travel system purely on looks and styling, believing that as it was the latest innovation, it must therefore be the best thing to buy for their baby. A worrying number of these parents do not even own a car, and use the car seat instead of the pushchair seat unit for the first few months. Another major problem is that not all car seats fit all cars, so a lot of parents find themselves in the position of buying a travel system, believing it to be a bargain and then finding that the car seat cannot be securely fitted in their car. My own personal feeling is that in many cases manufacturers and retailers are to blame, as they have aggressively marketed this style of pushchair, without putting the needs of babies first. The vast majority of first time parents need advice when choosing a pram or pushchair, and they accept this marketing in good faith. I am sure that as more research is carried out and publicized, this issue will be highlighted, and hopefully, manufacturers and retailers will be obliged to point out the cons as well as the pros of travel systems. There is one manufacturer that has addressed this problem and created an ideal travel system, you can see my review of this car seat in the car seat section, the Jane Matrix Car Seat review.

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                      17.12.2001 04:06
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                      I want to know what is the point of Baby On Board stickers? While there is no doubt there are people who use their baby buggies as battering rams and annoy us all, there is a good reason for the Baby On Board signs in cars. They are to alert emergency services to the chance of a baby being missed when searching for casulties in road accidents. The only thing I find annoying about them is the way they are not removed when no baby is being carried as a passenger, and is merely used a as a parking sticker for the family parking bays at supermarkets by the drivers who don't have children with them.

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                        08.12.2001 04:30
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                        Never underestimate your child. No matter how sensible they are, or appear to be. This is a lesson that I myself have learned to day as a result of a very frightening experience. Let me relate it to you. My eldest is usually very sensible. Although he is only eleven he is capable of quite a lot. He is a very intelligent child, (and I’m not being biased, this is based on school reports and him being in the top grade classes) normally and I can usually rely on him for quite a lot of things. For example he picks up his younger brother (who is seven) from school as he finishes before the primary school. He takes a bus to his school as it is a distance away, and he can be trusted to go to the shop and bring back the change. A well rounded chap if I say so myself. This morning he set off for school at his usual time of seven thirty. He was in a rush to meet his usual gang of friends that he meets up with. I was at home trying to sort out the rest of my gang, and to get my other son ready for school. Everything was at its normal mayhem. I was obliviously unaware of what was going to happen within the next hour. We usually leave the house at eight thirty in the morning to get to the primary school for nine ‘o’ clock. This morning I was running late after having a fight with the shower and number four child deciding to throw up everywhere and requiring another wash. It is a good thing that I did. I got a phone call at eight twenty five this morning from the local police station. The gist of the call was as follows: “Hello this is p.c (whatever) from the police station is this Mrs (me basically!)? “We just wanted to inform you that we have your son. My heart skips a beat at this point thinking what has he done, and why have the police got him? Has he done something that is going to mean trouble? “He was involved in a traffic accident and is on his way to (the local hospital), but don’t worry its not to serious all we know at this time is he has a graze on his knee. He may have broken his leg but we are not sure. He was taken by ambulance and is asking for you.” Now first of all I don’t want to critisie the police. They handled it well. But how on earth can you tell a mother not to panic? That is going to be her first reaction to some news like that. I now had to rush the rest of my kids out of the house, inform my husband of what was happening, try to arrange someone to look after my littlest two and get up the hospital. Great joy, I think not. I managed to get my son to school, but unfortunately could not get the baby sitter, so I took them with me. I was rushing around having visions of dread. After all my son is not exactly built like a bricksh**t house. He is small and rather weedy. Such thoughts as: Was my son all right? Was he seriously injured? Was he going to be admitted? Was he bandaged up and now looking like a mummy? How did he manage to get hit with a car after all the cautions that he has been given? Little toad I’m going to strangle him. It is strange what you think and feel in a crisis. But I had to keep positive, as I did not want my two little children getting upset. My husband was going to meet us at the hospital, and was just as worried as I was. My mobile did not stop ringing on the way to the hospital. I do not live that far from the hospital but this journey felt like miles. I rushed into the casualty or should I say burst into the casualty. My son was nowhere to be seen, I then spent about ten minutes trying to find him. It seems that he had got lost in a mountain of paperwork, and no one could seem to tell me where he was. I think that it may be time to write an opinion on the N.H.S. Eventually I found him in a side room. I must admit pure relief when I see him just sitting looking a little bit forlorn on a chair. He did not have any bandages on, w as not “plastered” and was looking quite all right. No ripped clothes no nothing. All he had to show for his accident was a graze on his right knee the size of ten pence, and an awful lot of shock. This I can deal with. I my self was in shock I think just seeing him sitting there. He was checked over and then he was discharged. I was given the usual warnings about if he felt ill what I should do. Obviously like any parent would, I asked him what on earth had happened? His answer? I was playing with my friends. We were chasing a boy and we cut across the road. I did not stop to look and did not see the car. The police have since informed me that no more action is going to be taken. I have been in contact with the driver, (who I must say was in just as much shock by it all, having stated to me that this has been the most frightening experience to see a child’s face come up onto the windscreen) and I have made my son apologise for running out like he did. The police said to me that if my son wasn’t carrying his school bags the consequences could have been very different. They acted like a cushion for his fall, and because they are bigger than him (!) could have saved his life. Now just for all you drivers out there. The speed that the car was going was not excessively fast. The driver was not speeding. They was doing 20 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour spot. They had not been drinking (that time of morning?) and everything on the car was “up to scratch”, as the car had not long had a M.O.T. I know that this experience will stay with that person for a long-time. I have no malice towards them at all; after all it’s not their fault. Surely there is a lesson to all here? Drivers watch out for little people, do try and keep your speed down. Being a driver myself I do know how easy it is to go fast and not know. Especially at this time of year when it is dark in the early morning, and early evening. And to us parents, we can never be to assured as to our child’s understanding of things. I know that I will continue now more than ever to “nag”. I try to give my son some kind of independence, has made me very weary now. And children, LISTEN TO YOUR PARENTS…THEY HAVE YOUR BEST INTRESTS AT HEART. Just as a footnote: I deliberately did not identify the sex of the driver. I do know but did not want to start the he / she war. What do you reckon?

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                          05.12.2001 13:54
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                          As part of my employment as a Cycling Instructor for one of the London Boroughs, we are also called upon to facilitate at the Junior Citizen programme in the same area. This is not necessarily because it has any relevance to getting on your bike, but more to do with the fact that we are a body of people also working for the Safety Education department, and who have had our police references taken up to work with children. Not having done this before, I had a nasty feeling that it was all going to be a bit too goody-goody and twee to be true. I was wrong. If anything, it forms a vital part of the curriculum for year 6 children – after all, your ability to continue learning anything at all would be severely curtailed by being dead! So, for those of you who have no idea what this entails, I’ll enlighten you. Firstly, a venue away from any particular school is chosen so that all local schools can be booked in for half days without any “home turf” advantage. This also maintains the element of surprise, since much of what is done is based on surprise and the ability to think on one’s feet. This particular programme is run in the stock/stable yards of a Royal Park that just “happens” to be handy. This has many good-sized rooms, and conference facilities. The children are split arbitrarily into groups of about 4/5. This prevents any cronyism and bickering over who likes who etc. The children are presented with about 10/11 scenarios; some of life-threatening situations, some more mundane, like what will happen to you if you are caught “graffiti-ing” a bus. The 2-week old bus in question has a capacity for 8 internal cameras, with VCR, still and print facilities, the latter being circulated to local head teachers for help in catching the culprits. All the major utilities are represented, as are the three major emergency services (we’re not on the coast here, so there are only three, despite what the AA will have you believe). The London Underground also give their time to this enterprise, emphasising the deadly danger of messing around where there are live rails, or just trains in general. We ourselves, as council employees don’t tend to get involved in these “self-contained” activities, except as guides to and from each scenario. I will now give you my experience of the “bits” I have so far helped with. FIRE DANGER - “Whoops – forgot the baby!” After a talk by Fire Service officers, the children are ushered into a domestic environment, where smoke is introduced, tripping the alarm. The object of the exercise is to get them to vacate the area as smoothly as possible, and dial 999, giving clear instructions as to the address etc. Marks are deducted for forgetting to bring the baby out with them (!), and for then going back in to retrieve it. Unbeknownst to the kids, we set up our own “emergency service” with a “PABX in a briefcase” so that they can be quizzed for these details without annoying the real 999 service. BEING A GOOD WITNESS – “Don’t stroke that, watch this!” The object of this exercise is to observe a “dodgy geezer” dropping a suspicious packet – (yes it was me with a woolly hat!). Having “done a runner”, a police officer then appears as if by magic and asks the kids what they saw. Taking a consensus from what was said, “The Met” are now looking for an white afro-Caribbean man with long bald hair, wearing nothing except what he was standing up in . One group was so intent on petting Tio and Pepe, the alpacas in the next paddock, that they missed me altogether, despite me making a bogus cell-phone call VERY loudly (“Nah, mate, no sweat, it’s only kids and they haven’t even seen me!). Seriously though, I was described as “about 6’9”-ish and about 30 years old”. Now, 6’ and 39-ish - I can run with that! One thing that is stressed to the kids is the need to say “Sorry, I didn’t see him” rather than tell fibs just to appear helpful. STRANGER DANGER – Headline: Man lures 40 kids into woods with police approval At the beginning of the course, ALL the kids are told to take notice ONLY from people with recognisable uniforms, or the borough’s Day-Glo jacket. So despite this, what did 100% of yesterday’s kids do? You guessed it. They went off with me, dressed in casual clothes into some woods no less, just because I SAID I was a park warden, and asked if they wanted to see some hedgehogs who hadn’t gone to sleep for the winter yet. I even managed to get one of each group to come alone “as we didn’t want to scare them, did we?” On the arrival of the Police officer, I let out an agonised “Strewth it’s the rozzers!” and bolted, only to lurk in the bushes for the next group. This is probably the most harrowing thing I’ve done in years, since the wholesale betrayal of children’s trust doesn’t sit easily on this old git’s shoulders. In a “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you” kind of way, I’d like to think that there are lessons to be learnt here, and more to the point, that they will be learnt. I wonder. I know I don’t want to do it again. FIRST AID – “He’s quite old, I suppose he could be dead!” In this scenario, we take it in turns to play the man with a faulty power tool in his (quivering) hand. Pretending to be unconscious is, as you can see from the subtitle, quite an amusing experience and enough to effect an immediate recovery of your “laughing gear”. One chi ld suggested that perhaps I’d committed suicide. “With a sander?” I thought as I lay there fighting back a fit of the giggles. “We are sad to announce the untimely death of Billy Nibbles at the hands of a power sanding machine. A hospital spokesman said ‘ It’s a terrible way to die – but what a great finish he had!’ ” Me and my colleague Steve do our best to make each other laugh as we lie there, “unconscious”, especially when we drain the colour from the kids faces by asking who want to give the kiss of life. We let them off the hook before any one attempts it – after all, we’ve established that I’m breathing. Phew! We do however get them to describe the kiss-of-life method, along with checking airways, calling for an ambulance, and setting up the “recovery position”. We’re not looking for budding paramedics here but just a few fundamentals that may buy the victim time like keeping them breathing, or staunching any heavy blood loss, and placing the bleeding area “uphill” from the heart. Here again, the kids get some 999 practice. Other little “bons-mots” overheard whilst feigning death – “He’s got a ring on – we could always phone his wife.” “I BET he gets up when we’ve gone!” “He must be breathing – I can smell garlic” “I can’t tell if that’s my pulse or his” “I wonder if we could use HIS mobile” ……… and then of course, there was the time when Steve farted as he was being rolled in to the recovery position. “He’s alive after all!” shouts one kid. “Oh, I don’t know so much” ,says I, “something’s definitely died!” WATER DANGER – “We have a little man who does all our drowning for us” The Port of London Authority supply a caravan which contains a mock-up of the riverbank at low tide. A pair of half-buried “wellies”stick out from fibreglass “mud”. The idea is to get one volunteer to be the idiot in the boots, and for the others to effect a rescue before a * simulation of the incoming tide covers the volunteer. (* a large water-filled “egg-timer”) One thing I have learned the hard way here, is to use a toilet at every available opportunity, since exposure to an unheated caravan, coupled with the sound of running water and someone bringing round coffee at regular intervals, combine to be more than the middle-aged bladder can stand for two and a half hours on the trot! This one really gets the kids thinking on their feet, and some even offer their own mobile phones to get the Fire Service, after finding that the built-in pay-phone has been “vandalised”. They do learn however, that vandalised or not, it is a valuable source of address information, which is something you don’t have with a mobile, which would be “somewhere on the Thames”. The display also includes the kind of litter and detritus normally found in the mud and we discuss the merit of stubbing our toes on these whilst paddling, along with how cold the water would be at any time of year. A model rat completes the “Who in their right mind would swim in there!” discussion. The main message here is, GET HELP, DON’T DO IT YOUSELF. Far too many brave people drown every year trying to save others. We concentrate on buying time for the victim rather than hauling them out, maybe by finding something that will halt or retard the sinking process, a rope for instance. According to the PLA man, hauling someone stuck fast in mud is not an option, since this can even lead to broken ribs or worse. Digging the boots out seems to be the best option, and is best left to the Fire people. We also enlist the kids’ help in keeping the much-vandalised lifebelt stock up to date – these are so frequently missing, because some drunken yahoo has had a throwing competition with his mates, which means that they cannot be depended on at all. They are urged just to go and tell a lock-keeper, police officer or whoever. Who knows, this simple action may save a life in itself. One little girl, obviously completely vexed, had to be fed with questions. “Who ya gonna call? - Ghostbusters?” “Er……..mmmmmmm………..” “Come on, your friend’s drowning!” “Well, I don’t really know her THAT well……..” “So, you’d just let her drown then?” “Er…..mmmmmmmm………” and so it went on. SPOT THE KITCHEN HAZARDS – “My mum pokes OUR toaster with a knife too!” As you can guess from the title, we usher the kids into a kitchen full of life’s little booby-traps, over-loaded plug sockets, knives left lying around, a fork in the toaster, pills on the work surface, in fact a complete replica of my kitchen! They then have to list what’s wrong with it and report back. We discuss the dangers they’ve spotted and any that they’ve missed. I’ve only sat in on one of these sessions, so I don’t have any amusing anecdotes to pass onto you. So there you are, Junior Citizenship programmes – not all “don’t drop litter or talk to strangers” lectures, but some real life situations in a controlled environment. If anything, I’d say this is more useful than the cycling part of my job, but alas it only occupies one month of the year in two chunks. Oh well, perhaps with the extra money it earns me, I can afford to tidy up the kitchen a bit! If your child comes home with a "goody" bag from one of these events, PLEASE read the stuff inside - you might just end up knowing as much as the kids, which is a slight recompense for having to get them to programme the VCR! Please note - this does not constitute an official opinion of my employer, which is why I’ve not said who they are. Since first putting pen to paper, several of those leaving comments have asked me how to find out if this goes on in their area. If they have year 6 children and haven't heard then I guess it isn't happening. One way to find out would be to seek out the teacher with P.S.H.E. responsibility in the school (Personal, Safety and Health Education). My wife is one such, but her borough employer does not run this scheme wholesale, leaving it to individual schools to set up. Speaking to the individual contributors like the Underground, the local bus company, and the Fire service, it seems as though they would be only too willing to come to talk to the 10-11 year old children at individual schools, although the extent to which this would be useful in the normal place of learning could be limited to a talk backed by visual aids. The borough I work for is not without its complainers viz-a-viz council tax demands, but it seems to get what you pay for. (I LIVE somewhere cheaper!) © billynibbles 2001

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                            20.11.2001 17:15
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                            Last week, the 33-year-old British actress, Charlotte Coleman died of an asthma attack. Her body was found downstairs, her inhaler was upstairs. How many school kids have asthma? It’s estimated to be between 10% and 20%. If one of them has an asthma attack at school, do the teachers or other school staff know what to do? Are the kids’ inhalers kept within easy reach, or locked away in some cupboard? If a child is gasping for breath, could you guarantee they will receive the right treatment in enough time? It was these thoughts that preoccupied me yesterday. I have asthma, as do two of my four children. The house is awash with blue inhalers (Ventolin / Salbutamol) and brown inhalers (Becotide / Beclomethasone). If one of us has an attack at home, I know several places where inhalers are kept. If we go out, I always have one in my bag – but what about in school? My youngest daughter has an inhaler and spacer (she’s only five) in her classroom and her class teacher suffers from asthma herself, so I am confident she is in good hands most of the time. I don’t know what would happen if she had an attack during lunch break though. In the past, I have been told teachers aren’t supposed to give medication to children. Thankfully, there is a loophole here – it’s usually okay for them to supervise a child giving themselves the medication, and as most kids are pretty good at taking inhalers, this shouldn’t be a problem. (It does seem to depend on the individual adult though. I help out in school sometimes and have often been appalled at the distance adults - dinner ladies, playground supervisors, classroom assistants, etc. - put between themselves and children who are bleeding. As a mother, my first instinct is to comfort the child and put a compress on the bleeding, not rush off to put rubber gloves on first!) My eldest daughter (11) has an inhaler at school – o r so I thought. I know that at one time, they were all kept locked away, so I had told her to keep hers in her coat pocket. But when I asked her this morning, she said her Year 5 teacher had kept them in her classroom, she didn’t know where they were now. I asked her what would happen if she had an attack at school. She shrugged. But obviously, it’s all well and good to prattle on about ideas. So, instead of just moaning, I have come up with some suggestions that you can put to the schools, colleges or even your workplaces. I am going to give a copy to the school my children go to as well. Some of these might already be implemented, but others might need to be. Asthma kills – as Charlotte Coleman’s tragic death proved – and these measures might prevent further deaths… 1) The school should have a list of all asthmatic children who attend there. They should also have signed permission slips from parents, saying it is okay for the school to administer treatment if their child has an asthma attack. 2) Each teacher should have a list of the children in that class with asthma, along with their GP’s number and an emergency contact number for a parent or family member. This should be somewhere accessible, to allow any supply teachers to be aware of it too. 3) There should be a note permanently on each classroom wall, explaining what to do if a child has an asthma attack. (Seek a GP’s advice on this.) 4) Each adult in school (teacher, dinner ladies, etc.) should be aware of the symptoms of an asthma attack and to know what to do. 5) Each asthmatic child should have their own, named Ventolin inhaler (and spacer, if necessary) at school. This should not be locked away in some cupboard two corridors away! They should be placed somewhere sensible, but accessible to adults – e.g. a high cupboard, a low locked cupboard (with the teacher keeping the key with them a t all times) or older pupils might be trusted to keep them with them. 6) There are times when an adult isn’t always there – for instance, when children are in the loo. It is therefore essential that some time is given to explaining to the pupils about asthma and for the kids to be aware which children have it and what to do if their friend has an attack. Asthma is very common, so much so that some people regard it as insignificant – it’s NOT ‘only’ asthma or ‘just’ asthma. It can kill. Every option needs to be covered, because you don’t know when someone will have an attack. You can’t always predict what will trigger one – it can often be a combination of cold weather and exercise (kids running around at playtime in the Winter, for example) but could also be dust, fur, smoke or something less predictable. I have had attacks from perfumes, kitchen cleaner and even one brand of cling film! It is essential to be prepared. Asthma is important. So are our kids.

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                              30.10.2001 17:28
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                              As a bereavement Counsellor with some years of experience in dealing with Children I thought I would update some old Opinions and came accross this old Opinion of mine published elsewhere. I decided to update it and publish it here, which in turn will give you an idea of how a child of varying age groups may be expected to deal with the death of a close family member, it is not supposed to be a definitive account merely a guide, but this in itself may help you recognise the behaviour that children may possibly display who are going through such trauma. When a death in the family has occurred, I suppose most of us will wonder if their young child has even noticed or bothered about it, it wasn?t that long ago a fairly common belief was that children below about 8 or 9 years were too young to understand or even grieve the death of a close relative or friend, nowadays it is generally accepted that, most young children will grieve, based on the fact that if a child is old enough to love then they are old enough to grieve, of course the depth of their grief will depend on their age and comprehension of the subject of death and may generally follow the set of age related paragraphs below? ~~~o0o~~~ A Baby or very young child up to around 2 years old may react to the absence of a significant other I would normally think this to be the mother or main carer and may also react to the display of distress of those close by becoming unexplainably moody and may possibly cry for no apparent reason. The child may become detached or remote after a period of time, it is important that the child should be given some stability as quickly as possible, by someone else taking over (Father or Grandparent) thus giving the child a stable and loving environment to develop and grow in. ~~~ o0o ~~~ Children of pre-school age between 2 and 5 years old have generally developed an ability to think for themselves and mull over simple matters and problems, so children around this age group tend to view death as temporary and reversible just as death is depicted in the cartoons they see on television or in comics, this age group will also have a tendency to ask the same questions over and over again about the person or family member who has recently died, even to the point of telling a total stranger, "My Daddy died last week" or another relative died, children of this age groups also have a wonderful ability to copy the behaviour or idiosyncrasies of other adults and may attempt to pick up their about how to respond or react to the death as though looking for guidance . Reacting in extremes for example behaving as though the death never happened, through to reacting in a regressive manner ~~~ o0o~~~ The child aged from about 6 to 9 yrs old believes he/she can "think" something into happening (magical thinking), and to this extent, the child may blame themselves for the death of their loved one, as they remember the times when they were badly behaved or were naughty, and because they are beginning to comprehend the finality of death, it is possible that these children may display a strong sense of loss such as depression, anxiety, or may even become moderately aggressive. ~~~ o0o ~~~ The pre-adolescent 9-12 year old fully understands the finality of death, but will need lots of encouragement to show their feelings. They may withdraw and refuse to discuss the death, the family and friends should be empathic, helping the children to bring their thoughts and feelings out into the open, talking about the loss over and over, will help this age child to express their deep inner feelings. A child of this age may have a short attention span and may also mask feelings, which need to be brought out into the open and not be allowed to bottle up their feelings. ~~~ o0o ~~~ All teenagers will realise that death happens to everyone at some time, they will sometimes behave as if it will never happen to them. Teenagers appear to have the most difficult time of all groups coming to terms with death and the dying of all the age groups; this is due mostly to the changes that are going on within themselves. This part of their lives is when they already have feelings of being unattractive to others, low self esteem and not being in control of their environment and destiny. Death heightens the intensity of these feelings, because death (holistically) affects their entire life ? whether that is in the school, at home or in relationships ? regression in some or all these areas may be observed. There are no grey areas to a child or youngster, everything is black or white, and children want and can deal with the truth, if questions are asked, you must answer them truthfully and as honestly as you are able to without adding any embellishments, if you don?t know say so, but say you?ll find out, and do find out, children can be very forgiving, but not when they are expecting answers?..believe me that children are very resilient and can in the main handle such information better than some adults?feel free to contact me if I can be of any help to you.... ~~~~~ o0o0o ~~~~~ I know this has been published elsewhere on the net, it is my work and I felt it important enough from an information point of view to publish it here, in order to hit as wide a population as possible If I cannot help I can always give advice on where you may find help..please email me if you need more help......

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                                18.10.2001 03:59
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                                I am writing in frustration over an incident that happened to me while at work. I am a Postman on a walking duty and have been for four years now. Two weeks ago while on my run I was delivering on a typical Scottish morning, it was chucking it down,and was delivering to a tenement in a very seedy area where the people in the close are not very, how shall I put it,tidy. The stairs are full of rubbish, bottles, papers,wood with nails in it,and other things I wont mention. Also the light sometimes doesnt work and as it was about 7.45 in the morning the close was quite dark. I am very aware of the state of this close and am always very careful when going up the stairs,but this morning as I was coming down from the top landing I was avoiding the debris side stepping coming down when I slipped. I stopped myself with my free hand, but gave my leg a twist. I decided to carry on a bit and see how I felt, and after about fifteen minutes my leg was getting sorer and my neck must have twisted as well as that was sore also. I decided to phone my manager to report that I had an accident but I would finish my deliveries which would take me about another hour.Well thats when the situation got worse, The managers reply was make up your f###en mind you either had a fall or your continuing your run. I got quite angry at this but just repeated what had happened, he told me to come back to the office to fill in some forms. So after finishing my deliveries I hobbled on to a bus and went back to the office. The Manager I spoke to was busy when I went back ,he had to stand in for the postmen that serves the customers that were not in and come to the office and collect the post ,he told me to wait, after twenty minutes he asked what had happened,checked I was wearing my uniform,work shoes etc , all this while serving customers. After this he went up the stairs to ask our Main managerand after twenty seconds or so came back and said that he said it was your own fault so I had no claim. I blew up at this stage ,as all I wanted was to put my name in the accident book and go home, and told him where to stick his forms and went home. The procedure in Royal Mail is to report any accident in the book and Management would go to the scene, take photos of the area and make a report. It took the Manager three days to go to the tenement in question, on a dry day and without a camera as it was broken he said. The next day I recieved a letter from management saying that they had looked into my complaint and in his opinion with more care and attention I could have avoided the fall. My leg and neck were sore for about a week and I was in agony trying to sleep at night but I kept going to work as I felt under pressure and want to keep my job. I just feel let down badly as it was an accident, I didnt mean to do it and I ended up feelong the guilty party instead of the victim. I just dont understand this Gestapo type of management as I wasn't blaming Royal Mail, it was the people in the close to blame. Iam sorry for going on , but had to get it off my chest and feel very let down.Why do they have to play the blame game.

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                                  12.10.2001 04:24
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                                  LET ME TELL YOU A STORY... One day I decided to paint my lounge. As usual my partner just wanted to watch TV so I did it myself. Unfortunately, I stepped down off my stepladder and trod on my hammer (which I used to crank open the paint can). Let's just say it hurt and it bled - loads! I grabbed a tea towel and pushed it onto my foot. I shouted my partner and asked that he run out and get something to sort out my wound. Now - here's a warning - he returned with a bottle of surgical spirit. OUUUUUUCHHH NOOOOOOOO! If you would find this worrying, read on. If you thought this was the right move, read on!!!!!!! DOES YOUR HOUSE HAVE A FIRST AIDER? When you cut your foot open you need pressure and elevation and a kind loving approach - followed by a trip to the doctors. How do I know this? From painful experience and 10 years as a St John Ambulance Cadet. Who will be there for your little mishaps? Who is the lifesaver in your home? Yes it sounds negative but imagine the peace of mind of knowing that you can save your child's life? You can also use first aid in less life threatening situations to make things easier and more pleasant for any casualty. WANT YOUR CHILD TO BE A PLAYSTATION CHAMP, A SPICE GIRL OR A LIFE SAVER? I strongly believe in the work of voluntary organisations that can keep your kiddies entertained during their teens for an evening a week doing something other than attaching themselves to some electronic box (I'm 24 and hooked to my PC 24 hours a day but hey!). The Guides, Scouts, GVC, Army Cadets and many others include First Aid and related subjects in their activities. Even a basic grasp of the ABC or CPR will equip your child with the best knowledge for saving lives. WHAT IF? I travel on the train everyday and although a crash can often be a chilling thought that passes through my mind, from my teen courses, I know how to treat people and how to manage first aid emergencies involving lots of casualties. I can also advise other what to do if I am too injured to assist. WALK ON BY? I have seen many a pensioner trip, fall or have a funny turn in public. I have so far only had to offer a kind word, some assistance onto their feet (once I'd checked for any serious injury) and an offer of a cup of tea at a nearby café. When my granddad fell ill with cancer, I felt confident to go and stay at his house on the odd weekend knowing that should he feel unwell or fall, I could at least do something to help until professional help arrived. INSPIRE OTHERS.. If you have first aid knowledge you can, through St John for example, apply to become a cadet trainer or join and gain enough experience to train other adults. There are many organisations that need volunteers to help with such vital work with the public. Look in the yellow pages, read dooyoo opinions and look on the net! Even if you pass on you thoughts about your course to dooyoo or friends, they do can benefit. UNDERSTAND CASUALTY and HOLBY CITY Well, if nothing else, and I haven't convinced you, I take it you may be a couch potato like me - imagine the joy of being more clever than you partner - outguessing the triage nurses on telly by getting your diagnosis in first! WHAT CAN I DO TO FIND OUT MORE? Buy a first aid book published by a recognised organisation like St John Ambulance or The Red Cross. Encourage your kids to join St John Ambulance or another organisation that covers first aid. Go on a course with work so that you can be an asset to your workmates. Go to a public course - check on the net, the local paper and any first aid organisation for details. Watch 999 - if studying isn't your bag - take in a dose of this thought provoking but sometimes over the top show! Buy a Triangular bandage from the chemist - it's a sling, a dressing and a very good basic first aid kit in itself! Live Longer, and be your family's first aider. It's better than getting to level 30005 on death bludgeon 6 on the Dreamcast !

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