Teatime is dangerous for children in the South West. That’s when serious accidents peak, according to findings released today by the Child Accident Prevention Trust.
The charity reveals how the end of the day spells the start of danger for children in the South West, with nearly half of all serious road accidents occurring between 3pm and 7pm. And the danger doesn’t stop there – children are also more than twice as likely to suffer a serious burn between 3pm and 6pm as they are during the morning.
The peak in child road deaths and injuries is linked to the after-school rush. In fact, the charity reports that there are more serious and fatal injuries to school-age pedestrians in the afternoon and early evening than at any other time of day.
The peak in serious burns reflects how, for many parents, teatime is when demands on their time also peak. Hot drinks are by far the biggest danger, followed by burns from the iron, kettle, cooker and bath. Babies and toddlers are most at risk, making up almost half of all child burns victims.
Dr Asif Rahman, Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine at St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, knows first-hand about the impact of teatime accidents on children and their families. Dr Rahman said:
"We see a massive peak at this time of day, from serious burns and road accidents through to more minor injuries. Burns from hot drinks and kettles are particularly distressing. Parents often blame themselves and feel the accident was their fault. They'd do anything to prevent the pain their child is suffering. That is why campaigns like Child Safety Week are so important, to raise awareness of the simple things that families can do to stop serious injuries happening."
The findings mark the launch of Child Safety Week, a national awareness campaign run by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT). The Week equips families with knowledge about serious accident risks to children and the simple steps they can take to prevent them.
Commenting on the findings, Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive, Child Accident Prevention Trust said: “Children in the South West suffer more serious burns and road accidents during the after-school rush than at any other time of day. Parents are up against it to get everyone home, tea on the table, clothes ironed and tired children into the bath. It’s hardly surprising safety precautions get missed.
“But these can be devastating injuries. A hot drink can scar a baby for life. A child can suffer brain damage if hit by a car. Simple changes to teatime routines can protect children from serious harm – whether that’s putting your mug of tea out of reach or practising road safety on the walk home from school. Visit our website capt.org.uk for practical advice on making teatime safer for children.”