Keeping children safe: raising awareness during Child Safety Week

By Malcolm Underhill

The frequently trotted-out phrase in response to a disaster is ‘women and children first’. The origin of the phrase appears to date back to the mid-19th century when HMS Birkenhead sank off the coast of South Africa in 1852. When the ship foundered, the commander ordered his soldiers to stand fast and allow the women and children to make use of the lifeboats. Although most of the soldiers and sailors died, all the women and children survived.

While the status of women has changed over the last century and some attitudes may have altered, society would probably like to think that children continue to be given priority over all other members of society and that their safety is always paramount.

Unfortunately that is not the case and children, the most vulnerable in society, are not treated fairly in all instances. As a solicitor specialising in serious harm and injury to children, I am alarmed at the risk of child accidents and thereafter the lack of full support. I share the aim of the Child Accident Prevention Trust to stop children being killed, disabled or seriously injured in accidents…

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