Understanding child injuries
It’s not possible – or even a good idea – to protect your child from all the bumps, bruises, scrapes and falls of childhood. These are just 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.
Unintentional injuries, not diseases, are the biggest cause of death in children aged 1-14 years in Australia. Most of these injuries can be prevented.
Common child injuries and accidents: causes
The most common causes of child injuries in Australia are:
- road accidents – for example, when children are pedestrians, cyclists or passengers in vehicles
- burns and scalds.
The most common causes of child deaths from injuries in Australia are:
- road accidents
Other common causes of child deaths and injuries include:
- choking, strangling and suffocation
- crushing and trapping
- smoke, fire and flames
- driveway accidents
- bicycle accidents.
What you can do to prevent serious child injuries
Supervise your children closely in situations where they’re most likely to get into difficulties. This includes when they’re:
- in the bath – read more about bath safety
- in the kitchen – read more about household poisons, burns prevention, scalds prevention
- near or with anything that’s smaller than a 20-cent coin, including food, toys and household items – read more about choking prevention
- in prams and strollers or around swings – read more about strangulation and suffocation prevention
- at the pool or beach or near water – read more about water safety
- near driveways, car parks and roads – read more about pedestrian safety and staying safe in the car
- visiting away from home.
What to do if your child is injured
It’s a very good idea for you or anyone caring for your child to do a first aid course. This means you’ll be prepared for injuries or accidents. First aid training is recommended every three years, and CPR training is recommended every year.
Always keep a first aid kit handy at home and in your car. You can take it with you when you go on holidays too.
You can also download or print our illustrated first aid guides:
- Burns and scalds first aid
- Choking first aid for children under one year
- Choking first aid for children over one year
- CPR for children under one year
- CPR for children over one year
- RICER first ad for sprains, strains and fractures.
Keep a list of emergency numbers in your phone. This might include the Poisons Information Centre (131 126) or your GP or local hospital.