March 2012

South West Regional Trading Standards Partnership (SWERCOTS) present their ‘Buy Wise Be Safe’ toolkit – a parental safety education campaign that aims to reduce the number of accidents that happen to young children in the home.

What is it?

Buy Wise Be Safe is a toolkit for parents which gives them key safety messages about equipment that will help to reduce the risk of accidents to children in the home. The toolkit is delivered in the form of a DVD and accompanying safety booklet designed to be shown to parents during pregnancy. Initial consultation with stakeholders and experts suggested that this was the best time to show parents safety messages, as the messages were more likely to stick if given during the pregnancy.

Although the primary audience for the toolkit is parents from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, the toolkit is also used at children’s centres, and by midwives and health visitors, to give safety messages to the parents they work with in an accessible format.

The need

South Hampshire and West Devon Home Accident Prevention Partnership identified the need for home safety intervention. National data on accidents to children in the home led to discussion around how they could be prevented in the region and in June 2001 the issue was put before a SWERCOTS safety co-ordinating group. The group agreed that there was a need for a regional programme to tackle this issue.

How was it developed?

The priorities for the toolkit were that it gave good clear advice on the purchase and use of safety equipment in the home. It was also important that the toolkit be designed with those from economically deprived backgrounds in mind.

Which organisations were involved with the project?

Funding for the initial development of the toolkit was sought through the then Department for Trade and Industry and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). Many more agencies were consulted on the project including local authorities, representatives from the fire service and voluntary groups, trading standards officers and health officers.


The toolkit was launched in 2004 and since then many thousands of copies have been distributed. The success of this project is being measured mainly on the number of toolkits distributed. The number of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) signed up to distribute the toolkit has increased steadily, with all PCTs in the South West now distributing the DVD.

 “There's a lot to think about and do when preparing for the arrival of a baby so being able to watch a DVD in the comfort of your own home is a useful way of learning about practical steps to keep your child safe.”

More information

View SWERCOTS detailed summary of the programme.

You can also visit the SWERCOTS website to get more detail about their work.

Updated February 2014