More than 300 children from across B&NES were admitted to hospital as a result of falls and unintentional injuries last year, according to figures released as part of the national Child Safety Week.
According to Public Health England the rate of hospital admissions due to injuries in children aged 0-14 years in Bath and North East Somerset is significantly worse than the national average at 113.8 per 10,000 locally, compared with 96.4 per 10,000 across England.
Hospital admission data shows the biggest causes of the unintentional injury admissions in under 5’s were from falls including from stairs and playground equipment; accidental poisoning and strikes or jams from falling objects.
Among 5-14 year olds, the data shows the biggest causes of unintentional injury admissions were falls from playground equipment, falls involving ice-skates, skis, rollerskates and skateboards, slips and trips, transport accidents and intentional self-poisoning.
Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death, serious injury and acquired disability for children and young people in the UK, accounting for three deaths and more than 2000 hospital admissions every week.
Most injuries to under-fives happen in the home and children who live in the most disadvantaged areas are thirteen times more likely to be admitted to hospital for an unintentional injury.
As part of National Child Safety Week, which runs from 3rd-9th June, Bath & North East Somerset’s Public Health Team is raising awareness of the common causes of injury in children and how to identify and overcome barriers to injury prevention.
It is encouraging parents and carers to be vigilant every day and to reflect on their family’s behaviour, routine and home environment in order to keep their children safe each and every day.
Councillor Kevin Guy, cabinet member for Children’s Services said: “Young children are particularly vulnerable as they are starting to explore the world, but don’t yet have an appreciation of its risks and dangers.
“The theme for the week ‘Family Life today: where’s the risk?’ provides the opportunity to highlight new dangers facing us from our modern lifestyles.
“Is your child safe when you are distracted by your phone or tablet? Do they have access to items which could seriously hard them?
“Even everyday items such as button batteries, particularly lithium cell coin batteries, can kill if they are swallowed and washing capsules and e-cigarette fluid are poisonous if ingested.
“During Child Safety Week we want families to think about their behaviour and how accidents can be prevented each and every day. After all we all want to protect our loved ones.”
The Public Health team already works with partners to reduce injury in children and young people through the Injury Prevention Partnership, but during National Child Safety Week the team has enlisted the help of local groups and centres to encourage families and carers to consider the most common causes of injury and think about the simple things they can do to minimise the risks to children and young people.
Dr Bruce Laurence, Director of Public Health, said: “We are particularly concerned about falls, as these cause the most serious injuries.
“We really want to encourage all parents to let children play freely outside and in parks. It is absolutely essential for their physical and mental development.
“That will always bring a little bit of risk, and many of us remember the scrapes and occasional breaks from our own childhoods.
“But to minimise these risks young children need a responsible adult to guide them while older children need help learning how to assess and manage these risks themselves, especially travelling to and from school.”
Families can find more practical safety tips on the Child Safety Week website https://www.capt.org.uk/safe-children-together.