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75% of children at risk of electrical fire

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ELECTRICAL SAFETY FIRST have carried out new research which studied the risks children face from the devices in their bedrooms.

Of all children surveyed, more than a quarter (27%) said they have used or purchased a cheap unbranded charger, nearly two in five (38%) admitted to leaving their phones charging overnight underneath their pillow, and over half (54%) said they had left a laptop, tablet or phone charging on their bed.

The research has shown that charging devices on a bed is a common occurrence. However, this significantly increases the risk of a fire. The heat generated by a phone on charge has nowhere to dissipate when the phone is under a pillow or surrounded by bedding, which generates even more heat. Combined with flammable materials, this heat can endanger property and lives by catching fire. If it’s not charged on a table or similar environment, even a device manufactured to the correct safety standards can swiftly become dangerous.

Also a worry is the fact that over a quarter of all children in the study have bought or used a cheap unbranded charger. Perhaps the most potentially dangerous counterfeit items tested by Electrical Safety First are substandard or counterfeit chargers. These usually contain malfunctioning parts that can deliver a fatal electric shock or catch fire by overheating.

Electrical Safety First found that, on average, children’s bedrooms contain ten electrical items, ranging from phone chargers and hair straighteners to tablets and fairy lights.

This amounts to nearly 25% more electrical devices than the number their parents’ generation had when growing up.

Today’s children, compared to their parents’ generation, are exposed to many more electrical safety risks. More than five out of six children (84%) have downloaded or are planning to download the popular ‘Pokemon Go’, a battery-draining game that will increase the need for phone chargers over the summer.

The findings have shown that, shockingly, parents are more likely than their children to take risks. Compared to 79% of children, 84% of parents admitted to taking risks. Two in five parents (41%), for example, have bought or used a cheap unbranded charger.

Head of Communications at Electrical Safety First, Emma Apter, said: “The research shows that, unwittingly, many parents and children are taking big risks with their safety. Technology has advanced at a rapid pace over the last 20 years and children’s bedrooms now contain more sophisticated technology than ever before. Many parents are unaware of the electrical dangers in their children’s bedrooms and how one person’s bad habits could put the whole family at risk. We’d like parents to understand the risks and lead by example.”

Dwayne Blanchard, a Leicester father of three, experienced firsthand the dangers of unsafe charging after a near miss with a potentially devastating fire last November. Thankfully, Dwayne had been home later than planned that morning and the smell of burning, emanating from his son’s bedroom, woke him up. He ran into the room and found the sheets in flames, caused by a phone and Bluetooth speaker on charge under his son’s pillow.

“I saw the fire on his pillow, where his phone and Bluetooth speaker were sat. I was able to put it out straight away but if I hadn’t been there, it could have burned the house down. I feel like we had a real lucky escape. We’re in a semi so it could have been devastating for us and our next-door neighbour.”

The fire has led to Dwayne and his partner, Rachel, introducing new rules in the house: all electronics are charged downstairs, and nothing is left plugged in overnight or when everyone goes out.

“Brandon did have a proper charger for his phone, but the Bluetooth speaker was plugged into a different charger than the one it came with, just because it was the right size. I won’t be letting him use a different charger or charge anything under his pillow again.”

For advice about how to keep you and your family safe in the home, visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/ modernfamily.

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Community

New Children’s Book based on local fisherman

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CHILDREN’S AUTHOR Natalie L Davies has written a story based on local man, Mickey Beechey, of Llangrannog.

The book is available on Amazon.

Natalie said: “I’ve written a series of children’s books with the central character, the lovely ‘Mickey the Fisherman’. The first book is called ‘Pollution’, and is a bright colourful and fun book with a valuable message.”

The book is available to buy on Amazon in both paperback and kindle, and can be found at: mybook.to/mickeythefisherman.

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Community

Council supports the Learning Disabilities ‘My Charter’

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CABINET members and senior officers in Ceredigion have signed ‘My Charter’. In doing so, Ceredigion County Council have become the first council to sign up to the charter. My Charter was written by people who have learning disabilities in West Wales.

The charter says that people who have learning disabilities want to have more chances in life, more choice and to be listened to. It also says that people who have learning disabilities want to be treated as adults, to be given dignity and respect and that their information is kept private.

Councillor Alun Williams is the Cabinet member responsible for Adult Services. He said: “People with learning disabilities have the same aspirations, hopes and feelings as everyone else. They deserve the same services and to be treated equally in a way that’s appropriate to their needs. I’m delighted that Ceredigion has become the first council to sign the charter, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this can positively influence the way our population of people with learning disabilities are treated in the future.”

The charter was developed by people who have learning disabilities from across Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.

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Community

Ceredigion Leisure Centres Summer holiday programme

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A BUSY TIMETABLE of inclusive summer holiday activities for children has been organised across all Ceredigion County Council-run leisure centres in the county.

From football to bouncy castle sessions, from cycling skills to archery, there’s a wide variety of activities to choose from over the course of the summer.

There will also be day camps and multi-skills activity days available at some of the leisure centres, for children to attend for the whole day. There’s even a day trip to the beach with Teifi Leisure Centre!

A range of learning to swim programmes are available at Lampeter Swimming Pool and Plascrug Leisure Centre across the summer holidays. A week of swimming lessons will be delivered solely through the medium of Welsh in Plascrug Leisure Centre starting on 5 August.

Councillor Catrin Miles is the council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure Services. She said: “Ceredigion Actif is once again providing a busy timetable of fun activities during the summer. It’s a healthy and worthwhile way for children to spend their time during the summer.”

Booking for sessions is essential and staff at leisure centres reserve the right to cancel any session if attendance is too low.

For further information on the summer holiday activities planned, visit the Ceredigion Actif website.

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