Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers account for the highest number of injuries to the Princess Margaret Hospital Emergency Department (PMH ED). Children at these young ages lack the knowledge, skill and concentration to navigate their world safely relying on adults to look out for their wellbeing.
Children aged between 0 and 4 are becoming mobile and starting to explore the world, however often their physical abilities are not matched by their cognitive abilities. In addition, there are also physical characteristics that make young children more vulnerable to injury which can include their small stature, increased skin sensitivity and size of their airway.
New data released by Kidsafe WA, with the support of the Western Australian Department of Health shows an average of 7,770 children under five years of age present to the PMH ED with an injury every year. Key findings from the Kidsafe WA Childhood Injury Bulletin: Injuries to Babies, Toddlers and Pre-schoolers show:
- Children between 0 and 4 years of age represent over one third of total injury presentations (40.3%).
- Toddlers aged 1 and 2 years recorded the greatest number of injuries within the babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers age group (26.0% and 24.8% respectively).
- Males are at greater risk of sustaining an injury and record consistently higher numbers in comparison to females across all ages.
- Just under half of injuries to this age group are caused by a fall (43.9%).
- Almost all injuries are due to unintentional circumstances (99.0%).
Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers are constantly learning new skills including rolling over, crawling and walking. This combined with their often curious nature can put them at risk of injury. Common causes of injury to children under five include falls, burns & scalds and poisoning. Active supervision is a vital component to preventing injuries for all children. Other preventative measures to reduce the risk of injury include;
- Not leaving your baby unattended on nursery equipment or other raised surfaces.
- Have a licenced plumber install a hot water tempering valve to control the delivery temperature of your tap water to a maximum of 50°C.
- Ensure you have working smoke alarms and test them regularly.
- Ensure poisons are kept in a high lockable cupboard or cabinet.