Communicating child safety

Doctor talking to mother and newborn at homeOctober 2012

This section explains how two-way communication and providing clear and accessible information plays a vital role in promoting child safety. 

It also outlines how social marketing techniques and working with community champions can support behaviour change.

While providing information can be important in raising awareness of lifestyles and everyday behaviour, it isn't always enough to change deeply engrained habits and actions. Behaviour change studies show that we are heavily influenced by who communicates the information. People may be more likely to act on information from trusted and authoritative ‘messengers’, especially those who present information simply and in ways that relate to real-life personal experience and circumstances.

The need for the 'right information, at the right time and in the right way' is illustrated through Department of Health research into the experiences of expectant and new parents, which looks at some of the barriers to effective information and communication. Parental concerns may include worries about safety in the home and confusion about where to go for advice and support.

CAPT research for Child Safety Week 2012 found that while safety is of paramount importance to most parents, the day-to-day pressures on them mean that important steps to safety aren't always prioritised.

Other useful resources include:

  • Preparation for birth and beyond - a Department of Health resource pack for leaders of community groups and local activities which covers safety issues
  • NICE research review (PDF) on barriers and facilitators for preventing unintentional injuries in children in the home.

In this section

Picture of Safety bookletsUseful resources

Picture of safety booklets

For information on producing accessible safety advice that meets the needs of vulnerable families and those with poor literacy, see CAPT’s briefing paper, Safety without the small print. This briefing paper explains how CAPT developed the popular Picture of safety easy-to-read safety booklets.

Child Safety Week

The success of Child Safety Week highlights the value of an inclusive approach to child safety and wellbeing as a shared community concern and responsibility. Building on, and encouraging year-round activity, Child Safety Week offers ‘multiple access points’ which enable local practitioners and champions to use the event as a platform for awareness, information and action. This creates impact and interest in the period leading up to Child Safety Week and during the week itself, but the relationships and connections made are vital in sustaining longer-term commitment and influence.

As part of Child Safety Week, CAPT has produced a number of lesson plans on safety issues, for teachers working with children of different ages.

Inspiring Communities guide

The Department for Communities and Local Government has produced a guide to the Inspiring Communities programme, which aims to raise the expectations and aspirations of young people. The guide includes practical tips on running local behaviour change campaigns.

Smart Guides to Engagement

The Smart Guides to Engagement series from NHS Networks has been developed to help Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and those who work with them to engage with the public, and to build understanding and support for change. The guides cover a range of community engagement issues, including the use of social media, community development to improve population health, and working with local authority scrutiny.


External links to other sites and policies were correct as of September 2012.

Updated June 2013