Accidental injuries are the most common cause of death in children over one year of age.
Children under five are most at risk from an injury in the home, with boys more likely to be injured than girls.
Older children are more likely to experience fractures, such as a broken arm or wrist.
Many accidents and deaths that occur in the home are avoidable. By identifying and understanding the potential risks and taking some basic safety measures, it's possible to keep your children safe.
Read more about preventing accidents and injuries in the home.
Call for an ambulance if your child:
Take your child to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department if they:
After an accident such as a fall from height, if you’re not sure whether you should move your child, make sure they’re warm and then request an ambulance.
Read more about [what to do if your child has an accident].
Most non-fatal accidents are caused by falls from height, with most deaths occurring as a result of fire.
A child can be injured anywhere in or around the home, but the most common place for accidents to occur is in the living or dining room. The most serious accidents occur in the kitchen and on the stairs.
There are potential hazards in every home, such as hot water, household chemicals, fireplaces and sharp objects. The design of some homes, such as those with balconies and open staircases, can also contribute to accidents.
Young children are unable to assess the risks that these things pose. Their perception of the environment around them is often limited and their lack of experience and development, such as poor co-ordination and balance, can result in them being injured.
Accidents can occur at any time of the day, but they're more likely to occur in the late afternoon and early evening. Most children have accidents during the summer, at weekends and during school holidays.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to an injury in the home, including:
There are several ways to help prevent injuries to children in the home, including supervising your child, being aware of the risks, creating a safe environment and using safety equipment.
The types of childhood injuries that occur in the home are often linked to a child's age and level of development. It can sometimes be difficult for parents to keep up with their child’s capabilities.
From an early age, babies are able to wriggle, grasp and roll over. Between 6-12 months old, they may be able to stand, sit, crawl and put things in their mouth.
As children get older, they're able to walk and move about, reach things that are higher up, climb and find hidden objects. With their new-found sense of freedom and movement, toddlers can move quickly and accidents can happen in a matter of seconds.
Below are some of the most common types of injuries that happen to babies and young children, and advice about how you can prevent them.
Falls are the most common type of accident in the home, accounting for 44% of all childhood injuries.
For babies, the biggest danger is rolling off the edge of a table, bed or sofa. Toddlers quickly learn how to climb and explore and it's very easy for them to fall off a piece of furniture, down stairs or out of a window or balcony.
It's likely that young children will fall over and get knocks and bruises while learning to walk, but serious injuries can be avoided. Below are some tips to prevent falls in the home.
Babies and young children can easily swallow, inhale or choke on small items such as marbles, buttons, peanuts and small toys. The steps below can help prevent this happening.
Domestic fires pose a significant risk to children. Children playing with matches and lighters frequently start house fires. The youngest children often hide from the danger and may not be found until it's too late.
The following points are important safety precautions to prevent a fire starting while you sleep and ensure you and your child don't breathe in poisonous smoke.
Hot drinks cause most burns and scalds to children under the age of five. A child’s skin is far more sensitive than an adult’s, and hot water can scald for up to 15 minutes after it has boiled. Hot bath water is the biggest cause of severe and fatal scalding injuries in young children.
Children can also get burns from open fires, cookers, irons, hair straighteners and tongs, cigarettes, matches, lighters and other hot surfaces.
The following advice can help prevent these accidents occurring.
Most poisoning injuries involve medicines, household products and cosmetics.
The points below will help prevent your child being poisoned.
Glass can cause serious cuts. Many children end up in hospital every year because of injuries caused by glass around the home. Many are also injured when glasses and bottles break.
Children can drown in a few centimetres of water. They should be supervised at all times when near water. Make sure you:
Almost all incidents where a child drowns in a garden pond occur after a breakdown in supervision. Follow the advice below to keep your children safe.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.