The tragic truth behind home accidents and child fatalities in the UK
Research by VeriSmart – a nationwide network of independent property inspectors – has shed light on the tragic statistics behind home accidents in the United Kingdom.
VeriSmart’s research reveals that more accidents occur at home than anywhere else – with the living room proving the most common part of the home for accidents – and home accidents account for the deaths of approximately 6,000 people in the country every year.
The statistics make for particularly grim reading for parents, as each year more than 62 children under the age of 14 die as a result of an accident in the home.
Over two million children under the age of 15 experience accidents in and around the home every year, for which they are taken to accident and emergency units, with more than 4,200 children involved in falls on the stairs and 4,000 children under the age of 15 injured falling from windows each year.
Around 25,000 under-fives attend A&E departments each year after being accidentally poisoned, and an average of 13 children under the age of four suffer a severe injury from a burn or a scald each day, though falls prove the most common type of accident to cause serious injury.
Children under the age of five and people over 65 are the most likely to experience an accident at home, and though women are more likely than men to die as the result of a home accident in the 65 and over age group, boys have more accidents than girls in the younger age groups.
Window falls can be avoided by fitting catches, restrictors and locks to prevent windows from opening too wide, and by ensuring that furniture is not positioned too close to windows, so that children are unable to climb up and out.
Similarly, safety gates can be fitted at the top and bottom of staircases to prevent children from falling.
It is also advised that parents keep floors clear of toys and other objects that a child may trip over, and children should always be supervised, even if they are simply playing or sitting on a living room floor, for example.
Throughout the house, items such as irons, lighters, matches and knives should be kept well out of the reach of children, while medicinal items should be clearly labelled.
The cost to society of UK home accident injuries has been estimated at £45.63billion annually.
Jonathan Senior, Chairman of VeriSmart, commented: “The numbers really are harrowing, with falls standing out as an especially common but preventable cause of injury and even death.
“Parents often see falls from windows as freak accidents, but the statistics suggest otherwise and, in fact, nationally, one child under the age of five is admitted to hospital every day after falling from a building.
“Of course, children are curious by nature, and so window locks and safety gates are reliable ways to prevent them from getting into danger.
While this falls more as the responsibility of the parent and not the landlord, it is vital for those in the buy-to-let sector to ensure that the property they provide is completely compliant and safeguarded against any eventuality, not just a potential fall hazard.
Failing to do so will have consequences that stretch far beyond any legal ramifications and so it really is in your best interest to check regularly and carry out any required maintenance immediately.”