Take time to prevent an injury

Somerset County Council and partners are urging parents to take simple steps to keep their children safe from danger to mark this year’s National Child Safety Week (5 to 11 June 2017).

In Somerset during 2015 there were 1,078 emergency hospital admissions of children aged 0-14 years, as a result of injuries. The top five causes of hospital admissions for injuries among children aged 0-19 years (2013-2016) in Somerset are: Accidental Falls, being hit by or running into things, poisoning and burns and scalds.

Accidents are a leading cause of death, serious injury and acquired disability for children and young people in the UK. Injuries to children often happen when parents or cares are distracted, when answering the door or checking a text. Serious accidents can happen very quickly.

For useful tips on how to avoid the most common accidents, see Notes to Editors.

In aid of ‘Child Safety Week’ Public Health are hosting a stand at a family fun day called ‘Sport Fest’ organised by the Wellington Community One Team. They will be offering advice and information on how to prevent a childhood accident. There will be health walks, archery, outdoor fitness, badminton and fitness to promote health and wellbeing. All ages welcome. Come dressed in your sports gear as there is something for everybody – children, parents and grandparents.

Alison Bell, Consultant in Public Health said: “Unintentional injury to children is a major public health concern not least because it is a leading cause of emergency hospital admissions. We also know the pain and suffering that children and their families experience as a result of an injury, sometimes such an injury can have life changing or long term effects.

“By their nature accidents often happen when people are least expecting it. There are lots of reasons for this. Babies rapidly change from not being mobile to being able to roll over, then crawl and then walk. Parents and carers have to be alert and stay ‘one step ahead’ of their children as they develop, keeping up to date with what they can do and reach in order to keep them safe.

“Injuries from accidents can be prevented in just one minute, just by moving dangerous objects out of a child’s reach or by passing on invaluable safety advice”.

More information on how to prevent accidents in home is available from http://www.capt.org.uk/safety-advice
For further information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email: pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk

Notes to editors

Top tips to help keep your child safe:

Falling for you – falls, slips, and trips
• As soon as your baby starts crawling, fit safety gates to stop them climbing or falling down the stairs.
• Take care not to put furniture in front of windows so there is nothing for children to climb onto.
• Fit safety locks or catches to your windows to stop them opening too wide. Make sure your family know where the keys are in case of emergency.
• Strap babies into high chairs every single time.

All hot and bothered – heat and hot substances
• Put the cold water in first and top up with hot, in case your toddler takes a tumble into the bath.
• Push kettles to the back of the worktop and try to use the back rings on the hob. Better still, keep children out of the kitchen when you’re cooking if you can.
• Put your hot drink down well out of reach – don’t rely on young children understanding not to touch. Put your baby down safely before you pick up your hot drink.
• Keep hair straighteners out of reach. They get as hot as an iron. Put them in a heat-proof pouch or on a high shelf to cool.
• Move cots away from radiators. Fit fireguards around fires and heaters.

Not so sweet – Poisoning
• Keep laundry and cleaning products out of reach and sight of young children, laundry tablets look yummy to a child.
• Safety caps and lids slow children down but don’t rely on them – it takes just seconds for some three or four year olds to open them.
• Look out for products with bittering agents such as Bitrex® when you’re shopping. They help prevent children swallowing products by making them taste nasty.

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The proportion of admissions to hospital in Somerset of children aged 0 to 14 related to an accident by accident type April 2013 to February 2016.
Accident Type Percentage
(0-14 year olds)
Falls 47%
Exposure to inanimate mechanical forces (hit by or contact with moving objects) 18%
Accidental poisoning by and exposure to noxious substances 8%
Land Transport Accidents 8%
Accidental exposure to other and unspecified factors 8%
Exposure to animate mechanical forces (direct contact with people or animals) 6%
Contact with heat and hot substances 4%
Other 2%

Why are accidents important?
• Unintentional injuries account for 13 per cent of emergency hospital admissions and 5 per cent of total hospital admissions
• They cost UK society an estimated £150billion every year
• Children from poorer backgrounds being five times more likely to die as a result of an accident than children from better off families.