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Many accidents are a part of growing up and children need to explore and experiment within their environments. Minor accidents can be part of an active, healthy childhood.

However, did you know that accidents are the leading cause of death and serious injury in children and young people. Sadly, many of these accidents can be prevented and the solution is often something that can become part of a daily routine.

For some children involved in serious accidents, the outcome can have a lasting impact on their health and alter the course of their lives forever. Furthermore, the family and friends around the child can experience trauma, pain and guilt that can last for years, if not a lifetime.

What might make a child more at risk of an accidental injury?

Children can be at a greater than average risk of injury from accidents if they:

  • Are under the age of 5 years (under-5s are more likely to be injured by accidents within the home).
  • Are over the age of 11 (over-11s are more likely to be injured in accidents relating to roads and traffic).
  • Have a disability or impairment (physical or learning).
  • Live within a family on a low income.
  • Live in a single parent household.
  • Live in accommodation which potentially puts the more at risk, including factors such as multiple occupied housing and social and privately rented housing.

What can professionals do?

Professionals can make a real difference to child safety and even save lives by doing something that might seem small, such as speaking about a particular issue or educating parents and carers they are working with about risks inside or outside the home where accidents may happen.

Below is a selection resources that can be shared with parents and carers and used to support professionals to have conversations to highlight the risks of accidents occurring in and out of the home:

Did you know?

  • 95% of all childhood burns and scalds happen at home. Most are caused in the day-to-day situations that many parents don’t anticipate, like children reaching a hot drink or grabbing hair straighteners.
  • Young children don’t automatically pull away from something that’s burning them.

Safe from burns fact sheet*

Burns and scalds

Did you know?

  • Each day around 40 under-5s are rushed to hospital after choking on something or swallowing something dangerous. Food is the most likely cause, but small objects and toys can also be risky for young children.
  • 30 babies and toddlers have died from blind cord strangulation in the last 15 years.
  • Asphyxia (which also includes choking and strangulation) is the third most common cause of child accident deaths in the UK. Most of these accidents happen to children under 5.

Choking, strangulation, and suffocation fact sheet*

Choking

Strangulation

Suffocation

Did you know?

  • Because of the heights of children and dogs, children are more likely to be bitten on the head and face area (76 per cent bites to lips, nose, or cheeks), and therefore suffer more serious, life-threatening injuries than adults who are bitten (10 per cent bites to head or neck)
  • Any breed of dog can pose a risk of causing an injury to a person, however there are four breeds currently outlawed in the UK, these include: Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, DogoArgentino and Fila Brasileiro.
  • Any dog with even the mildest temperament can bite in any given situation and children are often bitten by dogs they know within their own home or those of family members and friends

Dogs Trust - Staying safe with dogs' leaflet

Blue Cross - Introducing a new dog to the family

Blue Cross - Keeping visiting children and your dog safe

Did you know?

  • Every day, 45 children under five are admitted to hospital following a serious fall. Stumbles are to be expected, but more serious falls which lead to head injuries can have a lifelong impact.
  • Falls are one of the most common causes of childhood accidents.
  • Falls are also a serious risk for older children. Each year, around 27,000 children aged 5-14 are admitted to hospital after a fall.

Free from falls fact sheet*

Falls

Did you know?

  • Last year, 215 people lost their lives due to a fire at home. Many of these tragedies could have been prevented.
  • You are 8 times more likely to die from a fire if you don't have a working smoke alarm in your house.
  • The simplest and most effective way to prevent death and injury from house fires is to have a working smoke alarm on every level of the home.

Fire safe families fact sheet*

Fire safety

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) provide free safe and well visits (previously called a home fire safety check) to help people stay safe and reduce the risk of fire in the home.

During the visit WFRS will provide fire safety advice, check that smoke alarms are working and replace/install new ones if needed.
If you would like to apply for a safe and well visit or would like further information on fire safety, visit: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/firesafety

Did you know?

  • Child-resistant tops and strip and blister packs for tablets help to slow children down but they are not childproof.
  • Swallowing medicines, like everyday painkillers that you might keep in your handbag or bedside cabinet, is the most common way for children to be poisoned.
  • The detergent capsules and concentrated liquids under the kitchen sink can harm children too – they can cause accidental poisoning but also squirt into the eyes and cause damage. The capsules come in boxes that aren’t child-resistant.

Prevent poisoning fact sheet*

Poisoning

E-Cigarettes

Did you know?

  • More than half of serious accidents happen between 3pm and 7pm, coinciding with after-school hours.
  • Children find it difficult judging the speed and distance of traffic until they’re at least 8 years old.
  • Accidents peak around age 12 when children are starting to make independent journeys, such as walking to school alone.
  • Children and young people are 3.5 times more likely to die if hit by a car doing between 30-40 mph.

Safe around roads fact sheet*

In car safety

Pedestrian safety

Did you know?

  • A drowning child can’t speak or control their arms. They slip quietly under the water.
  • At home, younger children are most likely to drown in the bath or garden pond.
  • Babies drown silently in as little as 5 cm of water.
  • Older children can still get into difficulties when swimming in open water, beaches and public swimming pools. They may over-estimate how strong a swimmer they are or under-estimate risks in the sea or open water.

Watch out in water fact sheet*

Drowning

 

Further Child Accident Prevention Information

Further information regarding child accident prevention and signposting to expert advice is available via the following links:

Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT)

NHS - Children’s Health

 *All fact sheets have been translated into Urdu, Bengali, Panjabi, Polish and Arabic and can be accessed HERE.

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