New Public Health England resources to help reduce accidents to children and young people

Public Health England (PHE) has signalled that child accident prevention is one of its priorities by launching two new resources for local authorities on the first day of Child Safety Week. The resources focus on preventing accidents to children and young people in the home and on the road. 

There are still significant numbers of deaths and emergency hospital admissions from preventable causes. On average each year between 2008-2012, 822 children and young people under 25 died and there were more than 136,000 emergency admissions to hospital.

About the resources

The resources highlight actions local partners can take to reduce accidents including improving safety for children travelling to and from school and increasing the priority of accident prevention for existing services like health visitors and children’s centres including appropriate training and support for staff.

"Reducing Unintentional Injuries in and Around the Home Among Children Under Five Years" (PDF, 1.4MB) and "Reducing Unintentional Injuries on the Roads Among Children and Young People under 25" (PDF, 429kb) include an analysis of data between 2008-12.

Key findings

Home injuries (under five 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.
  • Five 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 was an average of 463 deaths recorded by the police among road users under the age of 25 years each year between 2008-2012.
  • The police recorded an average of 64,523 casualties of all types each year.
  • There was an average of 13,731 emergency admissions to hospital as a result of road traffic injuries in the five year period.
  • The rate of fatal and serious injuries for 10-14 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).

PHE worked closely with CAPT, and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to produce the resources.

Companion resources for each local authority are available with more local data on the Child and Maternal (ChiMat) Health Intelligence Network website.

Comments about the resources

Dr Ann Hoskins, Director for Children, Young People & Families, PHE

"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."

Katrina Phillips, CAPT’s Chief Executive

"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

"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."


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Updated July 2014