There are many sources of information to help you keep your child safe.
NHS Choices has detailed information on how to avoid accidents in the home. ROSPA - the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has a leaflet about the risks to young children from looped blind cords and chains and their website has detailed advice on preventing accidents and making your home safer.
Tales of the road and the Green Cross Code help you to teach your child about road safety.
Find out more about cycle training for adults, bike maintenance and cycle safety. ROSPA has information about drivers and cyclists safely sharing the roads.
Children must use a child seat when travelling by car until they are 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall. There are very few exemptions to this; find out more about child car seats and the law.
ROSPA has a dedicated child car seats website with information on safety. This includes advice on including choosing and fitting a car seat.
It is the driver's responsibility to ensure that children use the appropriate restraint when travelling in a car. Failure to do so could result in a fine. Find out more about seatbelts and the law.
There is no legal minimum age for leaving a child at home on their own. However, it is an offence to leave a child alone if it puts them at risk.
Before leaving a child on their own you should consider:
- their age
- their level of maturity and understanding
- where they will be left
- how long the child will be left alone, and how often
- whether or not there are any other children in the household.
Some parents feel their child is old enough to be left at home on their own once they start secondary school and walk to school, or the bus by themselves. The NSPCC has guidance on when it is safe to leave your child home alone.
How we can help
Our Road Safety team aims to reduce injuries to pedestrians, cyclists and car passengers.
We also have an Emergency Management team that ensures that the most effective systems are in place should a major incident occur in Cambridgeshire. Find out more about emergency planning and the council’s role in this.
Staying Safe Online
It can be difficult to stay up to date with technology and to know what the risks are to yourself or your child.
This is using electronic communications to bully others, usually by sending intimidating or threatening messages. Cyberbullying can happen through email, text message, social media and websites. It can be particularly difficult for children because, unlike face to face bullying, the victim may feel they have no escape.
Kidscape has advice for parents and young people on cyberbullying.
Children can be upset by seeing things on the internet which are aimed at adults, such as videos on Facebook or YouTube. Most social networks and media services have ways to help parents manage their children's access to inappropriate content. The UK Safer Internet Centre has information.
Also be aware of adult content you may have accessed on your devices which children may stumble upon.
This is increasingly common among young people who have grown up with the internet and involves sharing sexually explicit images, usually over the internet, by text, or webcam. Sexting is illegal, but the police have stated that young people should be treated as victims in the first instance and not face prosecution.
If your child's school contacts the police, this will enable the police to check the welfare of all children involved.
The NSPCC has some information on sexting among children.
Some adults may share explicit photos or videos with a partner, but there is a risk that these may be shared without the other partner's permission in the future. This is sometimes known as 'revenge porn'. Contact the Revenge Porn Helplinefor advice and help to get content removed where possible.
Grooming is when someone manipulates another person by building a relationship just to exploit them or sexually abuse them.
The thinkuknow website from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre has information and advice for parents/carers, children and young people about keeping safe online.
Lots of children enjoy gaming but it can be all consuming. Parents and carers can use games consoles' safety settings to help control age-related games and the amount of time spent online. Children can also be exposed to inappropriate language or grooming in games played with strangers online. PEGI age ratings give information on suitability of games for children, and Common Sense Media includes reviews from other parents.
Today's games consoles provide scope for online interaction with strangers on a level never before seen. The Parent's Guide to Games gives parents everything they need to ensure their family can enjoy games safely when playing online. The parents area of this general games review site explains how to set up parental controls on consoles, give hints and tips about how to restrict voice chat and avoid stranger danger, and provide advice and support to help parents keep their families safe.
Lots of children and young people use instant messaging as a fast, fun way to communicate with friends. However messages and images are not necessarily deleted, some can be saved and shared against the sender's wishes. And children need to know what is and isn't appropriate to send, as they may be having a conversation with strangers. UK Safer Internet Centre has more information.
Fraudsters can use social media, and other online methods, to get information which may provide access to bank accounts. They may also use it to persuade you to give them money, or to pretend that they are someone they are not. You could give away valuable personal information just by accepting an online friend request from someone you don't know directly, or by posting information while your social media profile is public. Commenting on a Facebook post which asks you to work out and post your 'adult film star' name by combining the name of your first pet and mother's maiden name, can give away banking passwords. Citizen's Advice Guide has information on Phishing emails and websites.