Intended for healthcare professionals


Preventing injury in childhood

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 19 June 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1388
  1. Graham Kirkwood, research fellow,
  2. Allyson Pollock, professor
  1. 1Centre for International Public Health Policy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9AG
  1. graham.kirkwood{at}

Injury surveillance in the UK lags behind other European countries

UK Child Safety Week will be launched by the Child Accident Prevention Trust on 23 June this year. Its aim is to raise awareness of childhood accidents and prevention strategies.

Unintentional injury accounts for around one in five of all deaths in children and adolescents in the European Union with the highest injury rates occurring in Greece, Estonia, and Belgium.1 In the United Kingdom, unintentional injury is a leading cause of death and illness in children and is the most common cause of hospital admission—it accounts for around two million visits to accident and emergency departments each year, at a cost to the NHS of around £146m (€182m; $288m).2 Injury in childhood is strongly associated with poverty, and death rates from unintentional injury in the UK are around three times higher in children from the poorest families than in those from the least poor families; little is known about this topic in other countries.3 4 5 Children of parents in the UK who have never worked or who are long …

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