Accidents are a leading cause of death, serious injury and acquired disability for children and young people in the UK. They account for three deaths every week and over 2,000 hospital admissions.


Accidents happen when they are least expected and many accidents happen when parents are taken by surprise by the next stage of their child’s development such as a baby grabbing their mug of coffee.


Many of these accidents can be prevented but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the demands that come with family life and keeping those that you love safe, can feel very challenging.


Below are some useful tables describing common accidents and some of the simple steps that can be taken to avoid them. Whilst the majority of these are aimed at accidents involving children, really they could happen to anyone it is just that often the consequences are more severe for children and vunerable people.


(6 toddlers are admitted to hospital every day because they’ve been badly burned)

Cause Prevention
Hot cooker hobs, saucepans, oven doors and kettles Push kettles to the back of the worktop and use the back rings on the hob
Hot drinks Put your hot drink out of reach and put your child down before picking your drink up
Hair straighteners, tongs, dryers Always keep out of reach and in a heat-proof pouch
Bath water Put cold in first and top up with hot
Button batteries (can cause serious burns to the throat if swallowed!) Keep objects with these out of reach (many toys contain them!). Store spare button batteries somewhere safe
Fires and heaters Move cots away from radiators and fit fireguards

Choking (This can be silent!)

Strangulation (At least 2 young children die from strangulation each year after getting caught in a blind cord).

Cause Prevention
Blind cords Fit a cleat hook to tie blind cords and chains back. Keep children’s bedroom furniture away from blind cords and chains
Food, drink and small toys Cut food into small pieces (especially round foods such as grapes). Put small parts from toys away. Do not prop a babies bottle up and leave them to feed
Nappy sacks Store nappy sacks safely away
Sleeping Do not use duvets, pillows or cot bumpers for young babies and put them to sleep in ‘feet to foot’ position. Do not sleep on a sofa/armchair with your baby. Do not sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink or take drugs

Posioning (Some 3-4 year olds can open child safety caps in seconds)

Cause Prevention
Laundry and cleaning products Keep all products out of reach and do not rely on safety caps and lids
Painkillers and medication Keep all medicines out of reach and watch out for any painkillers left on the bedside table or in a hand bag left on the floor
E-cigarettes and air fresheners Keep well out of reach
Carbon monoxide Fit an alarm in every room where there is a gas appliance or fire and get gas appliances serviced regularly

Falls (Falls down stairs can damage babies’ and children’s brains as well as their bodies)

Cause Prevention
Stairs Keep a hand free to hold on when carrying your baby up or down stairs. Fit safety gates
Highchairs Always strap children in every time you use it
Windows Do not put furniture in front of windows. Fit safety locks
Cots, beds and changing tables Do not leave a baby alone on a raised surface. As soon as your baby can stand, take large toys out of their cot to stop them climbing on them
Trampolines Just one child on the trampoline at a time and use safety netting

Road Safety (Child road injuries peak between 3pm and 7pm)

Cause Prevention
Pedestrians Hold young children’s hand or use reins. Teach the Green Cross Code. Set a good example
In cars Use the correct seat for age, weight and height and ensure fastened correctly
Cycling Ensure helmets are worn
Speed Always keep an eye on your speed

Deep Water (most babies and small children that drown, do so at home in the bath or garden. Babies can drown in just 5cm of water and children drown silently)

Cause Prevention
Baths Always stay with your baby or child and pull the plug as soon as you’re finished
In the garden Empty the paddling pool after use. If you have a pond, turn it into a sandpit, fence it or cover it while children are small
Out and about Keep children off inflatables when an orange windsock is flying at the beach. Teach children to swim between the two-coloured red and yellow flags. Remind children not to swim in canals and rivers

Fire (you’re 7 times more likely to die in a house fire if there’s no working smoke alarm)

Cause Prevention
Matches, lighters and appliances Prevent fires by; keeping matches and lighters out of reach, stubbing cigarettes out properly and avoid smoking if you’re tired/in bed, store hair straighteners safely, do not overload electrical sockets.
No smoke alarm / no batteries in the smoke alarm Check smoke alarms every month and ensure you have one both upstairs and downstairs.

A rather frightening post but an important reminder of just some of the ways you can improve safety in your home and out and about for your young family.


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The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.