Accidental injuries in children: The facts
Accidental injuries in children could be compared to rain in a British summertime: Nobody wants to see it happen, but we all know that it will. Children are naturally more likely to suffer accidents than adults. This is for a number of reasons, not all of them bad.
For a start, children are naturally curious. They love to peep inside things, whether they are boxes of sharp objects, locked sheds or deep, dark holes in the ground. Add to this the fact that children simply don’t recognise danger in the same way as adults, and it becomes obvious that accidental injuries in children are going to happen from time to time.
So, are accidental injuries in children preventable?
As parents, we never want to see our children get hurt, so naturally we have the urge to keep them on a tight rein while complaining that, “kids don’t play outdoors like they used to in our day.” But are there ways to prevent accidental injuries in children, without keeping them in sight at all times?
Well, we can start by recognising that children don’t see cause and effect in the same way as adults. This means that they don’t understand consequences. When a child asks to build their own raft and sail down a river on it, we automatically say, “No,” but we can help our children to become more aware of consequences by explaining why we are doing so. It’s not a bad idea to run through some, “what if” conversations with children, even when they are quite young. Perhaps a compromise can be reached, such as building a mini raft for some paper people to sail down the river instead.
By explaining an appropriate level of risk to children, we give them ways to keep themselves safe in the future. Hopefully it will help them to make good decisions in both childhood and adulthood.
But what about accidents with younger children?
Of course, many very young children suffer accidents too. Toddlers learn new tricks at an alarming speed, and your baby who only just seemed to be able to crawl can be mounting the stairs as soon as your back is turned. So with really young children, you can only try to child-proof their environment.
This isn’t easy. Even equipment designed for babies can be hazardous. Baby walkers are cited by doctors worldwide as one of the biggest hazards to very young children, as it gives them the mobility to fall from height or at speed. We all know that cleaning products don’t make good drinks, that bunk beds are bad climbing frames, and that cookers are easy to grab when you are only waist-high.
So while accidents will happen, hopefully by foreseeing as much as possible for our children, the injuries won’t be permanent. After all, we all survived childhood.
If the worst happens and you need to make a personal injury claim, call Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500 (landline) or 0333 500 0993 from your mobile phone. If someone else was to blame for your child’s accident, then you may be able to seek compensation.