By Raising Children Network
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When you understand the most common causes of childhood injuries, you know what to look out for – both around the home and when you’re out and about. Then you’re better prepared to keep your child safe.

Toddler putting a plastic strip on her knee
 

The basics

It’s not possible – or even a good idea – to wrap your child in cotton wool. Bumps, bruises, scrapes and falls are all part of growing up for an active, curious child. But with some practical steps and planning, these incidents are more likely to be the kind that a kiss, cuddle or bandaid will fix, rather than one of the many serious accidents that happen in Australia each year.

Accidental injuries, not diseases, are the biggest cause of death and disability in children under 15 years in Australia. Most of these injuries can be prevented.

Common injuries and accidents

According to a 2009 report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the most common causes of childhood injuries (2006-2007) were:

  1. falls
  2. road accidents, such as running out into traffic
  3. poisoning
  4. burns and scalds
  5. assault.

The most common causes of child deaths in Australia (2006-2007) were:

  1. traffic accidents
  2. drowning
  3. assault.

Other common causes of child deaths and injuries include:

  • choking, strangling and suffocation
  • crushing and trapping
  • smoke, fire and flames
  • bicycle accidents.

What you can do

Keep an extra close eye on your children in situations where they’re most likely to get into difficulties. This includes when they’re:

It’s a good idea to practise some emergency procedures and have first aid essentials on hand. You can also keep a list of emergency numbers by the phone.

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  • Last Updated 11-04-2011
  • Last Reviewed 26-03-2012
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2009). A picture of Australia's children (Report No. PHE 112). Retrieved on November 6, 2009, from http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/phe/phe-112-10704/phe-112-10704.pdf.

    Lyons, R.A., Sander, L.V., Weightman, A.L., Patterson, J., Jones, S.A., Lannon, S., Rolfe, B., Kemp, A., & Johansen, A. (2003). Modification of the home environment for the reduction of injuries. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 4.

    Routley, V., & Ashby, K. (1997). Safe home design. Hazard, 32, 1-16.