Accidental injuries are a major health problem throughout the United Kingdom. To give you some indication of just how serious they are, accidental injury actually accounts for one of the most common causes of death in children over 1 years of age.
Some other statistics that show the severity of accidents every year include:
- More than 2 million children under the age of 15 experience accidents in and around the home
- Approximately 62 children under the age of 5 died as a result of an accident
- Over 76,000 children under the age of 14 are admitted for treatment of which over 40% are under the age of 5.
Children in the 0-4 years age group are more at risk of having an accident and boys are more likely to have accidents than girls, but accidental injury can occur to anyone at any time.
Although accidents can’t be completely avoided, most of them are preventable through increased awareness and health and safety measures.
To help you prevent unnecessary accidents in your home or nursery, here are the most common types of accidents to children that you need to be aware of.
Falls are by far the most common causes of accidents; they make up the majority of non-fatal injuries and approximately 10 children die as a result of falls each year.
Most falls involve tripping over at the same level and can be caused by pushing or wrestling with another child. These types are non-fatal. When a fall occurs from a height, such as a climbing frame, highchair, pram or the stairs, this is when serious consequences can occur. Not only is the height an issue but children can also fall on something hard or sharp, or even pull something heavy onto themselves such as a chest of drawers.
In the UK statistics for child accidents, domestic fires account for the highest number of deaths.
Fires pose one of the greatest risks to children so make sure to keep matches and lighters out of reach, use a fireguard, and cover all plug sockets with protectors.
Resources: Find everything you need here for Fire Safety in your nursery
3. Scalds & Burns
Around 500 children, the majority in the 0-4 years age bracket, are admitted to hospital every year as a result of a scald or burn, with a further 2000 visiting A&E.
Most scalds and burns are due to the spilling of hot drinks, bath water that is too hot, and even sunburn. However, they can also be caused by contact with any hot object such as open fires, a cooker, irons, hair straighteners, cigarettes and matches. Never leave children unattended and always keep hazardous objects well out of reach.
4. Glass-related Accidents
Both injury and death can be caused by a glass-related accident. Whether it’s due to a window shattering or a child knocking and smashing a glass tumbler or bottle, serious injury almost always occurs.
Make sure to use safety glass in all windows and doors, especially at low levels, apply shatter-resistant window film, and always clear up any broken glass as quickly as possible disposing of it safely.
Over 28,000 children are admitted to the hospital every year to receive treatment for poisoning or suspected poisoning.
Most incidents involve medicines, household products and cosmetics, and cleaning chemicals. Always make sure to store these out of sight and reach of children and dispose of them safely.
6. Suffocating, Choking & Strangulation
Babies and small children are most at risk from choking as they tend to put everything in their mouths in an attempt to understand the world around them. However, children of all ages are at risk of these kinds of injuries.
Most of these accidental injuries are caused by choking on small toys such as marbles, suffocating from choking or covering their mouth and nose with a nappy sack or even accidentally getting caught in blind cords. Make sure you’re aware of these risks, choose age-appropriate toys and keep potential hazards well out of reach.
Another accidental injury that is common among children is drowning.
As children can drown in less than 3cm of water, it is important that they be constantly supervised, any water receptacle such as a paddling pool should be emptied and stored away when not used, and any pools of water such as a garden pond should be fenced off.
Resources: Keep your outdoor space safe in your nursery with our Garden Safety Checksheet.
Need Help with the Health & Safety for Your Nursery or Daycare?
Child Care Health and Safety Wales provides many publications and resources on Health and Safety in a nursery setting, including policy log books and checklists that can be tailored to your business. If you need any advice or guidance on which ones you need, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 07921 278986