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Last updated: 03/09/2020, 10:44 AM

London firefighters attend over 200 incidents a year rescuing children whose curiosity has landed them in a sticky situation

03/09/2020 10:00
London-wide
Safety warnings

Children stuck in a bin, a toilet seat and even a ticket machine are just some of the more unusual jobs London’s firefighters have been called to in the last three years.

But while London Fire Brigade is still attending more than 200 incidents a year which involve rescuing or freeing children whose curiosity has landed them in a sticky situation, there has been a 20 per cent reduction in these types of calls this year when compared to the same period last year.

As children begin to spend more time independently of their parents as schools and offices begin to reopen, the Brigade is warning to keep a close eye on little ones to avoid accidents.

Around 30 per cent of incidents attended this year where a child was stuck involved fingers and hands getting trapped in small spaces, including: toys, bottles, drains and even a sewing machine. Whilst over 75 incidents in the last five years involved children with their heads stuck inside objects, like potties, toilet seats and in between railings.

Black and white photo of firefighters rescuing a boy with his head stuck in the railings

Deputy Commissioner, Richard Mills, said: “Children are constantly on the move and it would be impossible to watch every move that they make, which means that sometimes, accidents are just a part of growing up.

“With families spending much more time together at home in recent months, it’s been tougher for children to get up to mischief under the supervision of eagle-eyed parents. As schools go back, play dates pick back up and parents return to work, we want to make sure that children stay safe and avoid preventable accidents, like getting heads stuck in potties.”

Strangest calls

Whilst children stuck up trees and in swings are among some of the most common types of calls. Some of the strangest calls in the last three years involving children getting stuck include:

  • Child with head stuck in potty
  • Child stuck in bin
  • Child with finger stuck in cymbal
  • Child with toilet seat stuck around head
  • Child with fidget spinner stuck on finger
  • Child with arm caught in cinema cup holder
  • Child with hand stuck in football table
  • Child with hand stuck in ticket machine

Deputy Commissioner Mills added: “We will always attend genuine emergencies, but it’s important to play your part to help us use resources wisely. A watchful eye and a chat with your children about the risks of exploring hard to reach places can prevent accidents. Only call 999 if there is a genuine emergency.”

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