Public Health England (PHE) has published two new reports highlighting actions that can be taken to prevent accidents to children and young people in the home and on the road.
The two reports – ‘Reducing unintentional injuries in and around the home among children under 5 years’ and ‘Reducing unintentional injuries on the roads among children and young people under 25’ – include an analysis of data between 2008 and 2012.
The reports were produced by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) and ROSPA on behalf of PHE. They have been published to coincide with Child Safety Week (23-29 June), an annual campaign by CAPT to raise awareness of the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented.
The reports conclude that while the number of children and young people killed or seriously injured continues to fall in England, there are still “significant numbers of deaths and emergency admissions from preventable causes”.
They also show that during the five-year period the rate of fatal and serious injuries for children aged 10-14 years was significantly greater for children from the 20% most deprived areas (37 per 100,000) compared with those from the most affluent areas (10 per 100,000).
The report focusing on road traffic injuries suggests “three key actions that can be taken by local authorities and their partners to further reduce the numbers of children and young people injured and killed”.
The first action is to improve safety for children travelling to and from school, because the largest numbers of child injuries occur between 8am and 9am and 3pm to 7pm. The report suggests that “local authorities work with schools to develop school travel plans that encourage active travel to and from school and address safety issues throughout the whole journey”.
The second action is to “introduce 20mph limits in priority areas as part of a safe system approach to road safety”. The report suggests that “introducing 20mph limits and zones in priority areas can reduce vehicle speeds and thereby prevent injuries and reduce their severity. Lower vehicle speeds can also help to reduce health inequalities due to traffic injury”.
The final recommendation is that action to prevent traffic injury and improve health must be “coordinated”. The report suggests that “actions to prevent traffic injury are most effective when coordinated within local authorities with the efforts to encourage active travel and create liveable streets”. It also says that “planning and evaluation of road safety activities should consider the impact on other health issues”.
Katrina Phillips, CAPT’s chief executive, said: “Local councils and their partners can achieve a step change for children, often at low cost, by prioritising the accidents that matter and mobilising existing services.
“That’s why PHE’s call to action is so welcome. We encourage PHE to support councils over the long-term, helping them to understand the benefits and savings that work on accident prevention achieves.”