LETTERS: Preventive aims of Child Safety Week

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Sir: There seems to be some confusion over the aims of Child Safety Week. We read with interest the two letters (27 June) which give the impression that "less than 700" accidental child deaths are somehow acceptable. Perhaps that statement could be put to a parent who has lost their child to an accident.

We agree absolutely that children shouldn't be over-protected. The Trust has never, at any point, encouraged parents and carers to over-protect their children from everyday risks, denying them the chance to learn to cope with hazards. We do believe in preparing children for adult life by teaching them to deal with risk for themselves, through education and experience.

The type of accident that does concern us is the serious, life-threatening and preventable type. If you knew that by installing a smoke alarm today, it would give you precious extra seconds to escape a fire, you'd fit one. If you were aware how much damage a car windscreen does to an unrestrained toddler in a crash, you'd use a properly fitted car seat. If you realised how quickly and silently a young child can drown in just a few inches of water, you'd make sure you emptied that paddling pool or garden pond.

The last thing we want to do is spoil children's - and parents' - enjoyment of family life and growing up. But it's hard to imagine what could spoil a family's happiness more than a serious injury to or death of a child.

Statistics show that 2.5 million children will go to Accident and Emergency Units after an accident during the next 12 months. Many thousands of these injuries will be serious and potentially life-threatening and nearly 700 families will be bereaved. This is what the Trust hopes to prevent.

CAROL SHERRIFF

Director

Child Accident Prevention Trust

London EC1

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