Keeping children safe and healthy

The information below will help you to reduce the risk of your child needing to attend hospital and will help you to prevent unintentional (accidental) injuries to children.

Keeping children healthy and safe is everyone’s responsibility, whether you are a parent, carer, grandparent, or someone else supporting their care and development.

There are lots of things we can all do to reduce the risk of a child needing to go to hospital and prevent situations which can be distressing for everyone involved.

Childhood illnesses and immunisations

It is useful to stay aware of some of the common childhood illnesses and their symptoms.

Coping with crying

Babies cry to communicate and although it may be distressing, it is normal for them to cry. If your baby’s crying is getting to you or you are worried, you can speak to your GP, midwife or health visitor. You can find information to help you on our ICON – Coping with crying page.

If you have any other concerns about your baby, you should call 111.

ICON - Babies cry, you can cope

ICON logo

ICON – Babies cry, you can cope is a useful national website where you can learn more and get supportive resources.

You can also go to our ICON page to learn more and download supportive resources available to all parents and carers across Somerset.

ICON stands for:

  • I – infant crying is normal
  • C – comfort methods can help soothe your baby
  • O – its ok to walk away for a moment, if the crying is getting to you and you have ensured you have left the baby in a safe sleep space and safe sleep position
  • N – never ever shake or hurt your baby. It can cause catastrophic injury and even death.

Advice for safer sleep

There are some key steps you can take to give your baby the safest sleep and reduce the risk factors associated with Sudden Infant Death (SIDs).

  • Always place your baby on their back during all sleep periods
  • Keep your baby smoke free at all times
  • Breastfeed your baby if you can
  • It is recommended to sleep your baby in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first six months after birth
  • Use a firm, flat and waterproof mattress, which is in a good condition

You may be entitled to household support, this includes items such as cots and mattresses, you should speak to your health visitor to find out more.

For more information on breastfeeding visit our Positive about breastfeeding page.

Risk factors linked to Sudden Infant Death

  • Sleeping on a sofa or armchair with your baby
  • Bedsharing with your baby if you smoke, have taken drugs, drunk alcohol, are extremely tired or your baby was born prematurely or was a low birth weight
  • Covering your baby’s face with loose bedding
  • Letting your baby get too hot
  • Not removing pillows, soft bedding, cot bumpers and soft toys from the cot.

If you are bedsharing with your baby you should consider any risks before every sleep. It is easy for your situation to change if you are unwell or have drunk any alcohol, which means your baby will be safest in a separate sleep space such as a cot or Moses basket on that occasion. For more information on co-sleeping and safer sleep, visit the links below.

You can find more useful information on protecting your baby and reducing your risk of SIDs on the BASIS and The Lullaby Trust websites:

BASIS – Baby Sleep Information Source

The Lullaby Trust – Safer sleep for babies: Support for families

For more advice and support speak to your midwife or health visitor. The role of a health visitor.

Child safety (accidents that cause injury)

Many injuries to babies and children are caused by accidents that happen in and around the home. There are steps you can take to reduce risks and provide safer environments.

Being aware of some of the most common reasons young children are admitted to hospital due to injuries at home, can help you to reduce the risk and prevent accidents.

In Somerset, there are a high number of children that are admitted to hospital because of falls in and around the home, accidental poisoning, or heat injuries.

For more information on the most common hospital admissions in Somerset visit the Somerset Intelligence website.

Speak to your health visitor to help you keep ahead of your child’s development or you can find more tips and advice on the Child Accident Prevention Trust – Fact sheets page.

Keep ahead to prevent injury

It is important for us all to take steps and fit the necessary equipment where suitable to prevent avoidable injury and admission to hospital. If you are struggling with the additional costs you may be eligible for free safety equipment provided by the Somerset Safer Home Scheme. If your child is under five years old, speak to your health visitor for more information. The role of a health visitor.

Top tips include:

  • Fit stair gates
  • Keep poisonous liquids, liquitabs and button batteries out of reach and locked away
  • Keep an eye on heat sources such as cookers, lights, fires and drinks

Somerset Homes Safety Scheme (fire safety)

If you are concerned about the safety of your home, Devon and Somerset Fire services can offer free safety checks.

For more information on fire safety, to complete an online safety check or to organise a free home visit contact:

Call: 0800 0502 999
Home safety visits (currently paused) | Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (

Children's oral Health (preventing the need for hospital admissions for tooth extraction)

Maintaining good oral health helps to prevent hospital admissions and unnecessary removal of teeth.

Document preview

This Oral Health Training Toolkit contains information around promoting good oral hygiene as well as useful links, training resources and e-learning modules.

PDF, 6.2MB

For more information of looking after your child’s oral health visit our Oral Health page.

Water Safety

Babies and small children can be at risk of drowning at home in just a few centimetres of water.

Somerset has a lot of coastline and rivers. Somerset Council website has information and advice on beach and water safety.

Respect The Water

To prevent water-based accidents, we encourage parents and carers to always keep an eye on babies and children and never leave them unattended in or around water.

The Child Accident Prevention Trust have more information on child drowning prevention.


There are lots of reasons to travel and multiple ways to do so. Babies and children are often travelling from the moment they are born.

Somerset’s Road Safety team can provide information and advice on how you can reduce your risk of injury when travelling by:

Somerset Road Safety has a range of free activity sheets to help educate children about road safety. For more information visit the Somerset Road Safety website.

Last reviewed: March 22, 2024 by Adam

Next review due: September 22, 2024

Back to top