Practical guide from Public Health England on safety for under-fives

In March 2017, Public Health England (PHE) published a practical guide to preventing accidental injuries to under-fives, designed to equip frontline staff working with families with small children to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries

Developed in collaboration with CAPT, the guide outlines key injury issues for pre-school children, looking in turn at the five main causes of serious preventable injury to under-fives – choking, suffocation and strangulation; falls; burns and scalds; poisoning; drowning – as well as fire and roads. It provides an overview of data, safety advice and key safety messages for parents that fit in with the timing of the health reviews at birth, nine months and 2-2½ years.

Best start in life

In his blog, Eustace de Sousa, PHE’s National Lead for Children, Young People and Families, explains that preventing accidents is part of PHE’s priority to give children and young people the best start in life, and is also a high impact area for early years and health visiting professionals.

He outlines how:

  • Unintentional injuries are one of the main causes of premature death and illness for children in England. Every year in England, 60 children under the age of five die from injuries in and around the home, which is one in twelve of all deaths of children aged one to four.
  • There are also 450,000 visits to A&E departments and 40,000 emergency hospital admissions in England each year because of accidents at home among under-fives.
  • There is a strong link with social deprivation – children from the most deprived areas have hospital admission rates 45% higher than children from the least deprived areas.

He concludes: “Unintentional injuries to children under five are a serious and costly health issue. PHE’s resources suggest a number of approaches to reduce that burden. I encourage frontline staff, and local leaders, commissioners and service managers to get involved in this programme of work.”

More information:

Updated July 2017