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Baby, it's cold outside...
Well not exactly. In fact the winter temperatures in the UK have been uncharacteristically mild. Mild, but wet. Very, very wet.
This has been great news for lots of people. On balance, the absence of serious frost and snow lowers the risk of accidents to most sectors of the population. For the lucky ones who avoided the terrifying winds or the even more alarming flooding then the constant rain and endless depressions sweeping in off the North Atlantic were merely irritating and challenging to morale. Were depressions named after their impact on mental health?
We can all moan about the weather. It’s a different story for those who were directly affected by the flooding. For them the impact has been devastating.
But two hundred days of continuous rain (I exaggerate – it can be no more than one hundred) can have less obvious and unexpected effects on the general safety and well being of children.
Notwithstanding the dangers of being outside, the dangers of being inside are considerably greater. The home is well known as the most hazardous place to be. Mainly because it’s where we all feel the safest. The hazards are many – but perhaps the biggest hazard is all the pent up energy of toddlers confined indoors for extended periods. It’s almost impossible to be vigilant all the time.
Many little hands DON’T make light work. There’s nothing small children like more than helping with household tasks – an enthusiasm that sadly doesn’t hold up through the teenage years. It’s not something to be discouraged and helps get through long days with the rain on the window. But it’s exactly the time when household products are in use that accidents can happen. That lovely thick fabric conditioner with the smell of summer fields can be irresistible. The only solution is vigilance and having products containing bittering agents like Bitrex, which will reliably provide that last line of defence.
“Frosty winds are not making moan” quite as much in the UK this winter as previously – no complaints about that, of course. But it doesn’t mean that the risk from winter motoring products has gone away. Just because the mild conditions mean less call for screen wash and de-icer, it doesn’t mean to say they are not a hazard to small children. In fact if the products are less front-of-mind they are more likely to be forgotten about, lurking in foot-wells of cars and garages where small children will home in on the lovely bright colour of the liquid. Mild weather hasn’t stopped us buying winter car products – and rightly so, they’re vital if we get a cold snap – but safer storage and a Bitrex mark on the product are the best solutions for protecting little ones.
Never fear. Spring is starting to appear. (But with it will come spring-cleaning and a whole new set of home hazards for toddlers!)