Gina Mercier of Bitrex says... | Bitrex - Keeping children safe

Gina Mercier of Bitrex says...

The thing I will remember Child Safety Week 2015 for is the look on the Scottish Government’s Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs face when he realised that we hadn’t been kidding about just how horrible Bitrex tasted.

What could Paul Wheelhouse MSP do but grin, sort of, and bear it. There were too many witnesses at Smiles Childcare in Wester Hailes. Never let anyone tell you that politicians are out of touch with their communities. If ever there was a case of mucking in - then that was it. And we have the photographs to prove it.

Smiles Childcare ran a great Taste Test – lots of fun and lots of learning and parents and carers really involved in the whole thing. And it’s a reminder for me of the work and commitment that goes into making Taste Test events up and down the country such an important part of Child Safety Week. All we have to do is send out the kits – you have to make the events fly, and that’s on top of the day job!

The previous evening Katrina Phillips and I met another MSP, Claire Adamson at the Scottish Parliament. She is the chair of the Cross-Party Group on Accident Prevention. It’s a group that brings together experts, community based workers (often the same people!), Scottish Government officials and legislators to discuss a wide ranging agenda on all aspects of accident prevention.

As well as discussing Child safety Week 2015, Katrina and I were involved in a discussion about the European Union directive on liquitabs which among packaging and labelling changes will require all manufacturers to add an aversive agent like Bitrex. It was fascinating being in a group where European wide legislation was being discussed in such an open forum within the legislative and debating framework of the Scottish Parliament – a reflection of how child safety has come up to the top of the agenda.

Because Child Safety Week coincided with the European announcement we also had a visit from the BBC. The filmed report which featured Bitrex is still visible through the BBC News website It is a great example of how the media can make a difference. The BBC were one of the news organisations who led on the growing number of incidents in the UK involving liquitabs that had got into the hands of toddlers and babies. The high profile media stories in The UK and other countries were at least partly the reason why the EU took action. So in reporting the story the BBC was coming full circle.

Not every Child Safety Week has so much media activity, but every CSW is full of excitement at local level because of the work that groups and individuals do in their nurseries, play-groups and communities. Thank you again.