Ilminster Avenue

January 2013

Lil Bowers is Family Support Leader at Ilminster Avenue Children’s Centre in Bristol. Here she tells us about their child injury prevention activities and how working with the Bristol early years public health group helps foster good practice.

Keeping child injury prevention activities on the agenda

Along with Laura Lewis, a Family Support Practitioner, at Ilminster children’s centre – Lil works across three children’s centres in the area providing advice, support and services to children and families.

The approach

Child Safety Week

Like lots of children’s centres, CAPT’s Child Safety Week is a big focus for Ilminster and Lil and Laura carry out a significant amount of child injury prevention work during this time.

Working in partnership

Working with their Avonsafe partners such as the local fire and police service during Child Safety Week, Ilminster runs talks and demonstrations on fire and road safety which are engaging for the children. Fire safety officers also talk to parents about escape routes in the event of fire.

During the week, a local road safety officer visits the children's centre and talks about car seats with the parents, checking their seats in their own cars. He has also brought in a model of the road so that he can teach children how to cross safely on it which is really popular with them.

Awareness of the dangers of burns and scalds is addressed with a visit from a nurse from Frenchay Hospital who comes in during the week to talk about preventing burns and scalds from hot drinks.

Parents at Ilminster are also able to buy home safety equipment provided by Lifeskills such as hair straightener pouches, cupboard locks and door-slam finger protectors. Ilminster also has a limited amount of home safety equipment which is offered free to some visitors to the centre who are in the greatest need of it.

Child safety campaigns all year round

The rest of the year at Ilminster is often spent running smaller versions of the child safety campaigns and activities which are carried out during Child Safety Week. Laura says that having campaign weeks like Child Safety Week is useful as then the activities are all set up and contacts are made with the relevant partners, so it's easier to re-run some of the activities later in the year.

Lil says the challenge is to make sure that child injury prevention activities don't get swallowed up amongst all the other important activities that children's centres carry out.

Laura says that parents often like to receive safety messages in their existing weekly group rather than attending a course or event specifically on child safety.

They also work closely with Rob Benington, Injury Prevention Manager at NHS Bristol, and he has come to Ilminster to deliver a talk to staff on child safety.

Bristol early years public health group

The Bristol early years public health group co-ordinates the public health work of children’s centres in the area.

Lil says that attending these groups is invaluable as a means of hearing what other children’s centres are doing and making new contacts.

Lil was able to hear about other initiatives such as the ELFs (Early Learning for Fire Safety) play resource where children dress up as firemen which St Werburgh’s Park Children's Centre in Bristol has carried out. They hope to be using these resources at Ilminster in the near future.

Getting good data

In terms of deciding which campaigns to run, Ilminster has strong links with Bristol City Council and Lil and Laura work with a data analyst there to gather data on the health and well-being of children. The data is then used to look at what local needs can be addressed via their injury prevention work.

Data gathered on burns last year, led to Ilminster running a campaign on preventing burns and scalds from hair straighteners.



Lil would like to plan some more evaluation into their injury prevention work so that they can evaluate the success of different activities and campaigns.

Ilminster's injury prevention activities are always led by local needs in terms of what parents’ issues are but Lil would like to work with other partners, including CAPT, on how best to evaluate the most effective campaigns.

They always use crosswords and quizzes with parents to see how effective the safety messages have been with parents, and these are useful tools.

What we can learn

  • CAPT’s Child Safety Week campaign is a good hook for injury prevention activities and once campaigns are set up, they can be re-used throughout the year.
  • Groups like the Bristol early years public health group are great forums for sharing best practice and making contacts.
  • The challenge within a children’s centre is to keep the focus on child injury prevention alongside other competing demands for children. The best thing to do is have a different focus for each month.
  • Often parents prefer to have different messages delivered in one go, rather than is separate sessions. Think how you can package child safety messages with your other campaigns.

Further information

Read our other case study from St Werburgh’s Park Nursery School and Children’s Centre:

For more information about the work discussed in this case study, please contact Lil Bowers at

You can also contact Rob Benington, Injury Prevention Manager at NHS Bristol, at

Updated February 2014