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Reducing unintentional injuries in and around the home among children under five years

Unintentional injuriesa in and around the home are a leading cause of preventable death for children under five years and are a major cause of ill health and serious disability. Our analysis of the most recently available five years of data shows that each year approximately 60 children and young people died, 450,000 attended accident and emergency (A&E) and 40,000 were admitted to hospital as an emergency.

This document sets out three action areas for local authorities and their partners that will reduce the numbers of children injured and killed. It also describes four steps local partnerships can take to build robust injury prevention strategies.

This approach is informed by the evidence base and a new analysis of data, which we are making available alongside this report. It builds on what local authorities are already doing to keep children safer and healthier.

The Chief Medical Officer has made a powerful economic case for preventingunintentional injuries.1 This report highlights the need for more information about the
wider costs and benefits of injury prevention. This will help local areas prioritiseinvestments and is an issue which PHE will work on with leading experts andorganisations. Injury prevention can be low cost and there is a tremendous return foryoung children in terms of preventable years of life lost and disability adjusted life years.

The paper identifies unintentional injuries as a major health inequality. There is apersistent social gradient for unintentional injuries and inequalities have widened.Our analysis shows that the emergency hospital admission rate for unintentional injuriesamong the under-fives is 45% higher for children from the most deprived areascompared with children from the least deprived, and previous research indicates that forsome injury types this inequality may be much larger.

Health inequalities can be tackled via antipoverty strategies, by targeting deprived areas, and engaging with local communities and families via proportionate universalism as advocated in the Marmot review of health inequalities in England.6 Research has shown what works in preventing unintentional injuries and the National  Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced evidence-based guidelines.