Injury Prevention

Public Health

Unintentional injuries in and around the home are a leading cause of death and a major cause of ill health and serious disability for children under five years in the UK.

There are 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.

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 is a persistent deprivation gradient whereby unintentional injuries are more common among children from the poorest families than affluent families, due to a variety of factors including the cost of safety equipment, poor housing, the inability to make adaptations, being a single parent without support, lack of safe play areas among others.

Unintentional injuries most often occur as the result of events which can be predicted and prevented. The five top unintentional injuries for the under-fives are:

  • Choking, suffocation, and strangulation
  • Falls
  • Poisoning
  • Burns and scalds
  • Drowning

The type of unintentional injury is associated with child developmental milestones for example rolling, crawling, and walking.

All staff who work with children in early years settings, particularly those in poorer areas, are ideally placed to help reduce childhood accidents. Through their contact with parents and carers, they can equip them with a better understanding about child development and can help them to anticipate risks.

Guidance and links

Preventing unintentional injuries: a guide for all staff working with children under 5 years by Public Health England This guide covers the evidence, what to do, and key safety messages for parents and carers across the 5 most common injuries, fires, and roads.
Unintentional injuries: prevention in children under 5 years

Safety Advice by Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) CAPT provides safety advice and educational resources including fact sheets, session plans for working with parents and carers, and activity sheets for children (free). CAPT promote Child Safety Week (the first week of June) which is a great way to highlight child safety and raise awareness.
Safety Advice Injury Types
Resource Centre

Safer Sleep Advice by the Lullaby Trust The Lullaby Trust summarises evidence-based ways to help parents and carers reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and is particularly relevant for babies aged 0-12 months.
Safer Sleep Advice

Keeping Children Safe at Home Injury Prevention Briefing: activities to help parents by CAPT and University of Nottingham Evidence-based injury prevention advice and activities developed by University and NHS researchers.

Scroll to page 15 and onwards to see activities for parents and carers designed to reduce injuries to pre-school children in their homes:
Preventing unintentional injuries to the under fives:
a guide for practitioners

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) RoSPA offers courses for further professional development on child safety in the home (at cost)
Home Safety Training Courses

Local resources

Bristol Home Safety Scheme Eligible families with children under 5 years can have safety equipment installed for free in their home. Families can contact the Health Visiting team for further information (email or call 0300 124 5300)
Refer a family to the Home Safety Scheme

Bristol Childrens Centres offer injury prevention information and activities for parents and carers: 
Children’s Centres


Nicola Theobald – (General and Nursery School Enquiries)

Deborah Brown – (General Enquiries)

Dawn Butler – (General Enquiries)

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