Press release

New reports aim to help reduce accidents to children and young people in the home and on the roads

Number of children and young people killed or seriously injured continues to fall but still too many preventable accidents.

Children and young people

Public Health England (PHE) today launches 2 new resources for local authorities on preventing accidents to children and young people in the home and on the road. The reports show whilst the number of children and young people killed or seriously injured continues to fall in England there are still significant numbers of deaths and emergency admissions from preventable causes. On average each year between 2008 to 2012, 525 children and young people under 25 died and there were more than 53,700 admissions to hospital.

The reports highlight actions local partners can take to reduce accidents including improving safety for children travelling to and from school and using existing services like health visitors and children’s centres.

The Reducing unintentional injuries in and around the home among children under 5 Years and the Reducing unintentional injuries on the roads among children and young people under 25 reports include an analysis of data between 2008 to 2012.

Key findings from the reports include:

  • home injuries (under 5 years of age):
    • an average of 62 children died each year between 2008 and 2012
    • these injuries result in an estimated 40,000 emergency hospital admissions among children of this age each year
    • 5 injury types should be prioritised for the under-fives: choking; suffocation and strangulation; falls; poisoning; burns and scalds; and drowning
    • hospital admission rate for unintentional injuries among the under-fives is 45% higher for children from the most deprived areas compared with children from the least deprived
  • Road traffic injuries (under 25 years of age)

    • there were 2,316 deaths recorded by the police among road users under the age of 25 years, an average of 463 under 25s each year
    • there were 68,657 admissions to hospital as a result of road traffic injuries, an average of 13,731 each year
    • in total there were 322,613 casualties of all severities recorded by the police, an average of 64,523 each year
    • the rate of fatal and serious injuries for 10 to 14 year olds was significantly greater for children from the 20% most deprived areas (37 per 100,000) compared with those from the most affluent areas (10 per 100,000)

Dr Ann Hoskins, Director for Children, Young People and Families, PHE, said:

Whilst unintentional injuries are continuing to fall, there are still too many accidents taking place either in the home or on the roads, many of which are preventable. Local authorities and their partners, such as the NHS and emergency services, are already doing lots of good work in this area and these new resources can provide some extra support to help them to prevent more injuries and deaths.

The reports are published during Child Safety Week (23 to 29 June 2014), an annual campaign by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) to raise awareness of the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented. The focus of the campaign is the simple actions parents and families can take every day to keep children safe.

CAPT, and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) were commissioned by PHE to undertake this work.

Katrina Phillips, CAPT’s Chief Executive, said:

Children continue to be killed or disabled in accidents that can be prevented and the poorest children are at greatest risk. Local councils and their partners can achieve a step change for children, often at low cost, by prioritising the accidents that matter and mobilising existing services. That’s why PHE’s call to action is so welcome. We encourage PHE to support councils over the long-term, helping them to understand the benefits and savings that work on accident prevention achieves.

Tom Mullarkey, Chief Executive of ROSPA, said:

Accidents are the biggest killer of children and young people, wiping out hundreds of young lives each year and causing untold suffering to families across the country. But so many of these accidents could be prevented for very little money. Helping children to grow up safely should be a priority for all of us, and that’s why we’re pleased to have been involved in this new guidance for local authorities, which is where important decisions about public health spending are made. Public health has many success stories, but the challenge now is to replicate that success in accident prevention.

As well as the national reports PHE is releasing figures which provide local authorities and other local partners with information on the number of unintentional injuries in the home and on the roads to help inform the work they do in this area.


Notes to editors

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Published 23 June 2014