Safety Statsistics

Many of the key bodies involved in the world of children’s safety compile statistics to help them highlight key risk areas and predict trends. On average the statistics are around two years old when they are published – this is because it takes time to collect and analyse them.

A broad view of the statistics generally shows the key areas of risk to be :

1. Road crashes - pedestrians / cyclists / motor vehicle passengers

  • Road crashes in the UK represent around 12% of all deaths in the 5-14 age group.
  • In 2005 – 29,000 children under 16 were hurt in accidents on the UK’s roads.
  • 156 of these children were killed and 3,445 were injured seriously enough to be admittted to hospital or treated for a fracture.

NB: Road accidents account for a greater proportion of the total number of accidental deaths as children get older – hence current public information campaigns relating to limiting speed ( ‘30 For a Reason’), teenagers distracted by mobile phones / MP3s and safe driving for new drivers.

With these points in mind, key messages for young people include:

  • Teaching children to use the main types of crossing – pelican/ puffin / zebra. Also training them to look for safer places to cross when there is no ‘official’ crossing in sight.
  • Ensuring the correct child restrains are used in cars (remember the rule is ‘If you are under 135cm tall or less than 12 years of age, whichever is first, you must by law use the right car seat.’)
  • Checking bikes regularly – brakes, lights,chain etc – and insisting that well fitted cycle helmets be worn at all times. In many areas Safer Cyclist courses are also available for children.
  • Educating children re: the need for light clothing – flourescent or reflective – when light levels are low ( late afternoon / evening).


2. Fire, Burns and Scalds

In 2002 in the UK –

  • Almost 37,000 children under 15 were injured in burn and scald accidents
  • The majority of these children were under 5 years old.
  • 95% of ‘thermal’ accidents happen to children in the home

In 2005 in the UK -

  • 18 children under 11 years old died as a result of house fires.

Many of these deaths would be as a result of smoke inhalation.

Key messages for young people would include:

  • Keep hot drinks and liquids away from small children. Put your tea down somewhere out of reach – before you pick the child up!
  • Keep kettles at the back of work surfaces – with short leads that small hands can’t reach. Turn pan handles inwards and use back burners when cooking.
  • Run cold water before hot into baths – never ever leave small children unattended.
  • Fit a smoke alarm – check it regularly. Work out a fire escape plan – involve the whole family.
  • Store matched and lighters out of reach of small children.
  • Take care with candles – never leave lit candles unattended.


3. Drowning
In 2002 in Britain –

  • 35 children under fourteen years old were drowned.
  • 21 of these children were under 5 years old
  • Around 200 children were taken to hospital in England and Wales following a near drowning. Near drownings can result in disabilities and long term health problems.
  • Most of these incidents happened in the summer months.

Key messages for young people / parents  would therefore include:

  • Drain or make garden ponds safe by fitting a strong cover.
  • Never leave a baby or child under 6 unattended in a bath or paddling pool
  • Empty paddling pools after use.
  • Ensure that toddlers cannot access neighbouring gardens which could contain hazards.
  • Check in and around the house for anything that could accumulate water – buckets / wheel barrows / pots.
  • Always supervise children closely when playing at the beach, in parks or gardens.
  • Be especially vigilant when in a new environment e.g. on holiday.
  • Make sure that children learn to swim but make sure that they appreciate the difference between public pools and dangerous open water areas such as canals , lakes or ponds
  • Learn basic rescue and first aid techniques.
  • Teach young people the Coastguard’s Sea Smart Code – safety guidelines for beaches and coastal water visit -


4. Home Accidents
Slips, trips, falls, poisoning, choking, cutting, piercing, drowning, scalding, burning, electrocution, asphyxiation.... 

Over 40% of all childhood accidental injuries occur at home and in the garden.

In 2001 in the UK: –

  • 98 children under 15 died in accidents in the home, 66 of these children were under five.

In 2002 in the UK: –

  • Almost 900,000 children under 15 visited hospital with accidental injuries that had happened at home.
  • Over half of these children ( 475,000) were under 5 years old.


The statistics used on this site are drawn from a number of sources including the government’s Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System ( now closed but copies of the Annual Report of the Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System can be downloaded / ordered from,