Child injury prevention

Accidents in and around the home are one of the leading causes of serious harm and death in young children in the UK. Yet most of these accidents are preventable.

Each year, around 2 million children under the age of 15 visit A&E due to injuries sustained at home. Around half a million of these children are younger than five.

Burn injury awareness

Burns and scalds are damage to the skin caused by heat. The leading cause of burns and scalds to children in the home are:

  • irons
  • stoves and hobs
  • hot drinks
  • beauty tools, such as hair straighteners or curling irons
  • fireworks

Choking

Children, particularly those aged from one to five, often put objects in their mouth. This is a normal part of how they explore the world.

Some small objects, such as marbles, beads, and button batteries, can get stuck in a child’s airway and cause choking.

Falls

It's common for young children to fall over and get knocks and bruises while learning to walk. These falls, if unsupervised, can lead to sprains or broken bones. As they learn how to climb and explore, it’s very easy for them to fall off a piece of furniture or down stairs.

Falls usually happen at home or in the garden. There are lots of things you can do to reduce the risk of your child from falling.

More information can be found on the CAPT website. 

Safe sleeping

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – also known as ‘cot death’ – is the sudden and unexplained death of a seemingly healthy baby.

In the UK, less than 300 babies die in this way every year. This statistic may sound alarming, but SIDS is rare and the risk of your baby dying from it is low.

You can lower the chances of SIDS by following this simple sleep guidance. This advice is based on strong scientific evidence. You should try to follow this advice for all sleep periods where possible, not only at night.

Things you can do:

  • always place your baby on their back to sleep
  • do not smoke during pregnancy or after the birth
  • place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months
  • breastfeed your baby, if you can
  • use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition

Things to avoid:

  • never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby
  • don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink, take drugs or are extremely tired,
    • or if your baby was born prematurely or with low birth-weight
  • avoid letting your baby get too hot
  • don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping
  • don't put loose bedding, stuffed animals, or toys in the cot with the baby

Additional guidance can be found on the Lullaby Trust website.

Water safety

Young children can be fascinated by water, and swimming is great for a child’s health and fitness. The following organisations give tips to make sure that their time in the water is safe and fun. 

Additional resources

The following organisations provide additional information on further household accidents, including

  • accidental poisoning
  • water safety
  • suffocation and strangulation

 

Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) website

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) website