Huge number of Buckinghamshire children admitted to hospital last year with 'unintentional injuries'

Almost 1,000 children were admitted to hospital with injuries in Buckinghamshire in just one year, figures reveal.
Be careful out there!Be careful out there!
Be careful out there!

Ahead of Child Safety Week, the Child Accident Prevention Trust says tens of thousands of parents in England experience their "worst nightmare" each year as they rush a child to the emergency room.

Public Health England data shows there were 985 hospital admissions caused by unintentional and deliberate injuries to children aged up to 14 in Buckinghamshire in 2019-20.

That equated to 93 admissions for every 10,000 youngsters in the area – down from the previous year's figure of 113.

This was compared to an average rate across England, of 91.

Unintentional injuries – which make up the majority of admissions according to the CAPT – refer to external causes of harm, such as sporting accidents, falls and burns, while deliberate injuries include different types of assaults and deliberate self-harm.

Across England, there were 93,000 hospital admissions due to children suffering injuries in 2019-20 – among more than 1 million over a decade.

The CAPT said parents can help bring the number of injuries down by staying one step ahead of their developing children.

Katrina Phillips, chief executive of the charity, said: “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, rushing their child to hospital, gripped by anxiety about just how serious the accident may be, and it’s a fear experienced by tens of thousands of families each year.

“Accidents often happen when young children can suddenly do something they couldn’t the day before – reaching a hot drink, crawling to the stairs or opening painkillers.

"For older children, accidents most often occur when they’re out cycling or walking.”

Child Safety Week (June 7-13) is an annual community education campaign run by the CAPT, which aims to prompt safety conversations among families.

Hospital admissions varied significantly nationwide, from 49 per 10,000 children in parts of south London, to 153 in Northumberland, in the North East.

Ms Phillips said different admission policies in hospitals, deprivation and overcrowding could all contribute to wide variation in rates.

In Buckinghamshire, toddlers were more likely to end up in hospital than those aged five and over, according to PHE.

In 2019-20, children aged up for four years old accounted for 350 hospital admissions – 109 in every 10,000.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said parents and carers should arm themselves with knowledge and information to protect children from injuries around the house.

Ashley Martin, RoSPA’s public health officer, added: "The odd bruise or scrape is all part of growing up but sadly, accidents involving children continue to devastate lives with those under five particularly at risk.

"On average, half of under-fives attend A&E every year following an accident that didn’t have to happen and many require extensive treatment."

Between 2017-18 and 2019-20, the most common unintentional injuries – of those which PHE provides figures on – to toddlers in England came from falls, accidental poisoning and exposure to inanimate mechanical forces, which includes cuts from sharp objects such as knives.

In Buckinghamshire, there were 440, 115 and 205 such incidents respectively during this period.