55 deaths annually from unintentional injuries in under-5s in England

  • Public Health England

  • from Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
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Unintentional injuries in and around home result in an average of 55 deaths per year among children under 5 years old in England.

The latest figures from Public Health England (PHE) show that, between 2012 and 2016, unintentional injuries lead to approximately 370,000 emergency department visits and 40,000 emergency admissions in this age group every year, and account for 7% of deaths in children aged 1-4 years old.

PHE says the majority of these injuries are preventable. The organisation has issued a call to take action on measures to reduce the disability burden of unintentional injuries of young children. It advises that significant improvements could be achieved by targeting the reduction of 5 causes of unintentional injuries among the under-5s.

Choking, suffocation and strangulation resulted in the highest number of deaths for the under-5s during the 5-year period (137 deaths). Inhalation of food and vomit resulted in 45 deaths, primarily involving children under the age of 2 years. Forty-one children died from suffocation and strangulation in bed over the 5-year period. Looped blind cords and nappy sacks are a major hazard.

Injuries from falls lead to the most injury-related admissions for under-5s and was the fifth most common cause of death for this age group.

Approximately 70% of poison-related incidents involved medicines, with household medicines accounting for a further 20%. Concerns have been raised about the dangers of nicotine poisoning from electronic cigarettes.

Burns and scalds were the fourth highest cause of hospital admissions for under-5s.

Drowning caused 56 deaths over the 5-year period. For the under-5s, the main risk is the bath, accounting for 19 deaths over 5 years.

“The national data on deaths and injuries provide a powerful call to action,” PHE says.