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Childhood injuries: common causes

0-8 years

When you understand the most common causes of child injuries, you know what to look out for – both around the home and when you’re out and about. Then you’re better prepared to keep your child safe.

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 and disability in children under 15 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:

  1. falls
  2. road accidents – for example, running out into traffic
  3. poisoning
  4. burns and scalds
  5. assault.

The most common causes of child deaths in Australia are:

  1. road accidents
  2. drowning
  3. assault.

Other common causes of child deaths and injuries include:

  • choking, strangling and suffocation
  • crushing and trapping
  • smoke, fire and flames
  • bicycle accidents.

What you can do to prevent serious child injuries

Keep an extra close eye on your children in situations where they’re most likely to get into difficulties. This includes when they’re:

It’s a very good idea to do a first aid course so that you’re prepared for any injuries or accidents your child might have.

Always keep a first aid kit handy at home and in your car.

You can also keep a list of emergency numbers by the phone.

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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