Date Published: 

Wed, 06/06/2018

More than 300 children from Bath and North East Somerset were admitted to hospital due to falls and unintentional injuries according to figures released as part of the national Child Safety Week.

The rate of hospital admissions due to injuries in children aged 0-14 years in Bath and North East Somerset is worse than the England average according to Public Health England figures.

In B&NES in 2016/17, 146 under-fives were admitted to hospital. The biggest causes of the unintentional injury admissions were from falls that include some from stairs and playground equipment; accidental poisoning and strikes or jams from falling objects.

In B&NES in 2016/17, 171  aged 5- 14 were admitted to hospital. The biggest causes of unintentional injury admissions in this older age group were falls from play-ground equipment; slipping or tripping and falls involving ice-skates, skis, roller skates or skateboards. Transport accidents and collisions and intentional self-poisoning.

Dr Bruce Laurence, Director of Public Health for B&NES, said: “The rate only refers to admissions to hospital not attendances at GP, minor injuries units or emergency departments. It is difficult to be sure whether this higher rate is because the area actually has more injuries or because the hospitals admit more freely than those in other areas, but it is certainly concerning and work is under way to look into this further.”

Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death, serious injury and acquired disability for children and young people in the UK. They account 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.

In addition to ongoing partnership work to reduce injury in children and young people through the Injury Prevention Partnership, National Child Safety Week which is from 4 – 10 June provides the opportunity to focus local efforts to raise awareness of the common causes of injury in children, identify and overcome barriers to injury prevention and to offer parents and carers an opportunity to reflect on their family’s behaviour, routine and home environment in order to keep their children safe.

Councillor Vic Pritchard, (Conservative, Chew Valley South) cabinet member for Adult Care Health and Wellbeing, 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; Safe children: together we’ve got this, provides an opportunity to share experiences and knowledge to help families understand the risks, as well as the consequences – but most importantly, the simple ways that accidents can be prevented to protect our loved ones.”

Dr Bruce Laurence added: “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.”

With the help of local groups and centres, families and carers are being encouraged to consider the most common causes of injury and think about the simple things they can do to minimise the risks to their children and young people.  Families can find more practical safety tips on the Child Safety Week website https://www.capt.org.uk/safe-children-together

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