Road traffic crashes, drowning, burns, falls and poisoning hurt, disable or kill millions of children across the world every day.
Older children can learn to keep themselves safe and share what they learn with their families and friends, to stop more children getting hurt by accident.
Scroll down to read our Top Ten messages on Accidents & Preventing Injuries for children to learn and share, plus ideas on what children can do to understand, find out more, take action and reflect on this topic.
Download our 100 Messages PDF to have a copy of all our messages for printing and sharing.
Cooking areas are dangerous for young children. Keep them away from fire and from sharp or heavy objects.
Pots can fall off stoves or tip over, pans can be too heavy to lift and spill or fall. Hot stoves and flames can be left unsupervised and hot things can look safe to touch but aren’t. At home children are most at risk in areas where food is being cooked. Young children and babies are most at risk from burns but all children are at risk. Sharp objects like knives need to be out of reach and hot pans and heavy objects need to be put where they can’t tip over and spill or fall and hurt someone.
Children need to keep away from breathing smoke from fires. It causes illness and coughing.
Smoke from fires makes the air we breathe dirty. Tiny particles of ash from the fire (called soot) float in the air and we breathe them in. This can make it harder for our lungs to fight off infections. Children who breathe in this kind of dirty air are twice as likely to get pneumonia which is a dangerous illness that can kill us.
Anything poisonous must be kept out of the reach of children. Don’t put poisons in empty soft drink bottles.
Medicines, household cleaners, solvents, fuels, pesticides… our homes have all kinds of poisons in them. Poisons need to be clearly labelled. They need to be stored out of reach of children – on a high shelf or locked up in a cupboard.
NEVER put chemicals in drinks containers or other food cartons – someone who doesn’t know what it is might drink it.
If a child is burnt, put cold water on the burn immediately until the pain lessens (10 minutes or more).
Children can get burnt easily where there are hot stoves, hot pans and hot drinks. If child gets burnt or scalded with hot liquid act quickly to reduce the pain and help the burn to heal – cool the burn with clean, cold water. Do not put anything else on the burn: butter, ointments or lotions can make the burn worse not better. If the burn is large – bigger than the size of the child’s hand – then get help from a health worker right away. Keep the burn lightly covered with a wet, clean cloth but do not put anything else on the burn.
Vehicles and bicycles kill and injure children every day. Be aware of all vehicles and show others how to be safe too.
Every day, children are killed on roads across the world. Road traffic accidents are often serious because children are so small and vehicles are so much bigger, heavier and faster. Children are most often hurt when they are crossing roads but they are also hurt when they are passengers in cars, on motorbikes and on motorbike taxis. Roads everywhere in the world are getting busier and road traffic is getting faster in all of our towns and villages. We can all learn how to stay safe on the roads by looking and listening for vehicles while we cross.
Look out for dangers for young children like knives, glass, electric plugs, wire, nails, pins etc.
All children are curious and small children love to put things in their mouths. Very small things – like buttons, coins, small batteries, paper clips – should be kept away from small children. Small children have little fingers that can find switches, wires and electrical sockets, check the environment small children are playing in and remove anything they could hurt themselves with.
Stop young children eating dirt or putting small things into or near their mouths (e.g. coins, buttons) as these can block breathing.
Crawling babies and young children who have just started to walk must be kept in a clean, safe place away from wires, plugs and small or sharp objects that could hurt them. Put small children on a mat where you can see them, checking and removing any small objects from the floor around them.
Stop young children playing near to water where they may fall in (rivers, lakes, ponds, wells).
Drowning is one of the major causes of death in children across the world. Even shallow water can be deadly to small children. Floods and fast running rivers, wells and waterholes as well as ponds, lakes and coastal waters are dangerous. So too are buckets and bowls of water used to bathe small children in.
Create a first aid kit for home or school (soap, scissors, disinfectant, antiseptic cream, cotton wool, thermometer, bandages/plasters & ORS).
A health worker can help you make a first aid kit for home and for school. Children can learn how to use each item in the first aid kit so they have the confidence to act when someone is injured and needs help.
When you go somewhere new with a young child, be aware! Look and ask about the dangers for young children.
Keeping ourselves and younger brothers and sisters safe is all about being aware. We can learn to spot risks ourselves and ask others if there are any dangers we must be sure to keep small children away from. We can learn to be aware and alert to danger and prevent accidents before they happen.
WHAT CAN CHILDREN
ALL 10 MESSAGES…
ACCIDENTS & PREVENTING INJURIES