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Unintentional injuries in and around the home are a major cause of death and disability among the under-fives in England. An average of 62 children died each year between 2008 and 2012 and home-related injuries accounted for 8% of deaths in the 1 to 4yr age group. Emergency hospital admissions are also very high among the under-fives, roughly 40,000 a year, which is approximately double of that of the age 5-9yr group.

Data on injury causes indicate that the most significant are Choking, suffocation and strangulation – causing the highest number of deaths; Falls – resulting in the highest number of hospital admissions; Poisoning – leading to high numbers of short hospital admissions; Burns and scalds – which can be disfiguring and expensive to treat; Drowning – causing around 100 child deaths a year and Other causes – including slips, trips and bumps.


There is a persistent social gradient for unintentional injuries and inequalities have widened with the 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. Health visitors have a key role in leading and mobilising services in the community and in combining their knowledge of child development and the main injury causes with the impact of deprivation to target services for those most at risk of unintentional injury.

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Reducing Accidents

Watch a video of Kevin Lowe from the Child Accident Prevention Trust talking about the prevalence of accidents and how health visitors are well placed to support parents to reduce the incident of accidents within their own homes.

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