5 most common serious injuries for children

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You can’t wrap children in cotton wool.  A natural curiosity or sense of juvenile adventure leads to accidents.  It’s one of the ways children learn about the world.  Luckily, most incidents yield little more than a scrape, or a bruise.  Of course, children are as vulnerable to serious injuries as any adult.

Nobody likes to think of a child getting seriously hurt.  But it doesn’t harm you to be prepared for that eventuality.  Whether you are a schoolteacher, a parent, or even just a neighbour, you never know when you might be the adult who must deal with an injury.  If that happens, then there is one important thing to remember.

Just stay calm.

Here are the five most common injuries that happen to children.




There’s one thing most parents would agree on: children spend a lot of time testing things.  And, if they aren’t testing your patience, they are probably testing the laws of gravity.  Young children often bound from one comical mishap to the next.  However, 45 children under five are admitted to hospital each day.

This is one of the most common serious injuries you’ll deal with.  In most cases you will be able to take the child to hospital yourself. However, if the fall has rendered the child unconscious, it is time to call an ambulance.  If this is the case, then you need to be aware of a few things.

  • Check that their airway is clear
  • Be careful of back injuries and try to avoid moving the child
  • Check for any bleeding and apply pressure to the wound
  • Make sure the ambulance and paramedics can easily access the child




Choking, in fact, is one of the most common causes of death in children.  It can happen at any time.  Although it is usually food that causes the choking, it isn’t uncommon for it to be a small toy.  If choking happens, remember to stay calm.  Helping the child is easier than you might think.

  • First ask if them to cough. (This might dislodge the object)
  • Give up to five blows between shoulder blades
  • Give up to five abdominal thrusts
  • Call 999

For more information this article by BritishRedCross is a useful resource.


Burns & Scalds


Burns and scalds are very common.  They’re often caused by hot drinks, bath water, or appliances such as hair straighteners.  Burns cause children much distress.  For the most part, running cold water over the burn is enough to alleviate the pain and stops it from becoming a more serious injury.

If you are unsure how to treat the burn, seek medical advice.  However, for most burns and scalds you will be able to comfort and help the child if you remember the following:

  • If burn is caused by chemicals run under cold water for 20 minutes
  • Do not remove any burnt clothing or anything that might stick to the burn
  • Do not touch the burn or pop any blisters
  • Cold running water makes a big difference to the severity of a burn




Drowning is more common in very young children.  Babies and toddlers can drown in as little as two inches of water, and it most often happens in the bath.

There is no warning.  Young children don’t struggle or make any noise.  Unfortunately, preventative methods are more effective than first aid.  However, if drowning does occur, then you must act swiftly.

  • Remove child from the water
  • Open airway and check for breathing
  • Administer rescue breaths
  • Check for pulse
  • If there is no pulse, begin chest compressions
  • Make sure an ambulance has been called

If you are worried about drowning, then read Parents’ article: Child Drowning First Aid: 7 Steps That Can Save a Life  .



Every year, more than 15,000 children attend A&E thanks to poisoning.  It only takes a child to mistake medicine for a sweet, or drink a household chemical.

Prevention is more effective than any first aid will be, and the best thing to do is call an ambulance immediately or get the child straight to hospital.

  • Try to keep the child awake and responsive
  • Monitor breathing and pulse
  • Keep any relevant packaging for the paramedics or doctors

Acting swiftly will give the child a better chance of recovery without any lasting serious injuries.

Wrapping up


We can take measures to ensure our children are safe, but we cannot prepare for every possible eventuality.  The world can’t be child-proofed, and you cannot account for every misadventure, coincidence, or moment of bad luck.

You may not be able to prepare your child for every possible misfortune, but you can prepare yourself to deal with a serious injury should it happen.

Why not speak to us about a Level 3 Award in Paediatric First Aid?

There is no harm in being prepared.