PARENTS have been urged to keep their children away from playing on construction sites over Christmas.

The message comes as many construction projects close down for Christmas, creating opportunities for youngsters to gain access and treat them as play areas.

Chris Faulkner, from Wantage-based construction firm Stepnell, said: “To a child who doesn’t understand the dangers, a building site with its scaffolding and heavy plant equipment looks like an exciting place to play when in fact it’s a treacherous and potentially fatal attraction.”

The firm’s regional director continued: “Youngsters are often unaware of these hazards, so we’re asking parents, guardians and members of the community to reinforce this message and keep children away from playing on or near building sites. We all have a part to play in keeping them safe.

“We’re also urging the local construction community to be extra vigilant during the Christmas period and ensure that building sites and hazardous equipment are properly secured over the holidays to minimise the opportunity for youngsters to gain access and get into trouble. This includes regularly checking security fencing for gaps or holes.”

Each year, several children die after gaining access to building sites, and many more are injured.and many more are injured.