Keep an eye out for young helpers during a DIY Easter

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Don’t Ignore Youngsters is the DIY message from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) during the holiday season.

The Easter break is traditionally a time for families to work on home improvement and gardening projects at home with young helpers in tow.

But RoSPA is reminding parents and carers to always supervise children, especially when power tools and lawnmowers are being used. It is also important to tidy up all equipment straight after the job is done.

There were 407 children (aged under-15) admitted to hospital after accidents involving non-powered and powered hand tools, electric lawnmowers and other household machinery, according to latest annual NHS figures for 2011/12*.

Sheila Merrill, RoSPA’s public health adviser, said: “The Easter holiday is a wonderful time for families to spend together and often when they start to do some home improvement or gardening. It is also, unfortunately, a time when A&Es usually see a rise in DIY and gardening injuries.

“Children love nothing better than to be a little helper, copying adults’ every move. So it is important to remember when starting a project at home that children should be kept away from where you are working as they are fascinated by tools like drills, hammers, mowers and other gadgets.

“Many injuries occur when a task has been finished but the tools haven’t been tidied away. Also, prepare well, make sure you have the knowledge to tackle the task in hand and don’t rush things as that is when accidents are more likely to happen.”

It is estimated that more than 200,000 people go to A&E in the UK each year after being injured doing DIY, maintenance or gardening at home.

There were 4,313 people injured after accidents involving contact with non-powered hand tools in 2011/12. A further 422 people were admitted to hospital with injuries from using powered lawnmowers, and 3,461 people injured after using other powered hand tools and household machinery. Some of these accidents will have happened at work but many of them will have happened at home.

RoSPA’s DIY and gardening safety tips include:

· Keep children and pets away from where you are working

· Keep products in their original containers; keep all tools, paint and chemicals out of the reach of children; and, tidy up at the end of your task

· Stop and disconnect all electrical appliances and tools before repairing or cleaning them; only use tools/materials/products in accordance with their instructions

· When working with power tools, use an RCD (residual current device) if your home is not already wired with one

· Avoid falls from height by checking a ladder’s condition before use

· Only use a competent, qualified person to carry out gas and electrical renewal or repair work. Anyone carrying out domestic and commercial gas work across the UK must be registered through the Gas Safe Register.

See www.rospa.com/homesafety/ for more home and garden safety advice from RoSPA.

* Figures from the Hospital Episode Statistics (NHS Information Centre).