Nottingham Insight

Avoidable injuries in children and young people (2015)

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Topic title Avoidable injuries in children and young people
Topic owner Lynne McNiven
Topic author(s) Sarah Quilty, Denise Kendrick, Michael Watson, Kaye Smith
Topic quality reviewed Date 22nd July 2015
Topic endorsed by Avoidable Injuries Strategic Group
Topic approved by Avoidable Injuries Strategic Group
Current version 2015
Replaces version 2010
Linked JSNA topics

Executive summary



Avoidable injuries in children and young people (CYP) are a serious public health issue and a leading cause of death and hospital admission for children in the United Kingdom. Injuries put more children in hospital than any other cause.

The impact and consequences of avoidable injuries are major contributors to health inequalities with children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds at significantly increased risk.

The long term effect of an injury can be significant, both physically and emotionally, for children. They may experience:

  • Disability or impairment (short or long term)
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Ongoing hospital appointments and operations.

Avoidable childhood injuries carry significant costs to the economy, the NHS and children and families. Admitting a child to hospital following avoidable injury in the home is estimated to cost £16,900. The same source puts the cost of a road traffic injury at three times this, in excess of £50,000. The NHS spends an estimated £131 m per year on emergency hospital admissions because of childhood injuries.

There is a body of evidence to show that most injuries are preventable. Strategies to prevent injuries are usually relatively inexpensive to implement and are shown to have a beneficial return on investment.


Unmet needs and service gaps

There is a need for standardised evidence-based home safety advice to be provided to families with young children by practitioners who work with children and families (e.g. health visitors, children’s centre staff, family support workers, Home Start etc.).

The home safety assessment and equipment scheme only covers 7 wards in Nottingham city. The scheme has the potential to prevent child injuries and reduce inequalities in child injuries. However, it has short term funding; so the scheme is at risk when the current funding ceases. In addition, other wards with high child injury rates and high levels of deprivation in Nottingham city and country do not have access to this service; hence injury rates and inequalities in these wards are likely to remain high.

The evidence-based injury minimisation programme for schools (IMPS) and its programme for parents of pre-school children (ELFS) should continue to be commissioned

DfT funding for the number of National Standards Bikeability for 2015 has been reduced and continuation funding is currently under review. Nottingham City Council currently partially fund delivery of Bikeability and the scheme is at risk because of a zero budget decision within the service area. 

Nottingham City Council Lifecycle programme delivery is under threat when current funding ceases.

Both road safety schemes have the potential lower the risk of cycle injuries in children aged 5-11 and should continue to be commissioned.

Recommendations for consideration by commissioners

  1. The home safety equipment scheme should continue after the pilot phase in order to roll out across all of Nottingham City.
  2. The commissioning of health visiting services should include the provision of standardised evidence-based home safety advice for all parents of children aged 0-4 years by health visiting teams
  3. The continuation of the Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County Strategic Avoidable Injuries Group.
  4. The continuation of the Home Safety and Road Safety subs groups of the Strategic Avoidable Injuries Group.
  5. The evidence-based injury minimisation programme for schools (IMPS) and its programme for parents of pre-school children (ELFS) should continue to be commissioned
  6. Continue to extend the implementation of 20mph zones throughout all areas of the city and county
  7. Bikeability and Lifecycle schemes should continue/extended to offer the opportunity for all primary pupils to participate in cycle/road safety awareness training.
  8. Discussions with schools to take place in order to prioritise and commission safety initiatives
  9. Continue to lobby industry regarding the safety cleaning products

Key contacts

None specified.

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