Starting Well - Health

Non accidental Injuries


Unintentional injuries are a major cause of death and injury in children.  Many unintentional injuries are preventable.  In 2018 a Public Health England analysis of 5 years of data on hospital admissions and deaths, an average of 55 children a year died of unintentional injuries, 370,000 children attended A&E and 40,000 children were admitted to hospital as an emergency.

There are many modifiable risk factors for unintentional injuries in children.  These range from modifications to the home environment to prevent falls as well as reducing the opportunities for burns and scalds.

Unintentional injuries show a social gradient with those children from more deprived areas, more likely to experience an injury than those from more affluent areas. 




PHE (2018) Reducing unintentional injuries in and around the home among children under five years PHE London


Main Issues

The five most common unintentional injuries leading to a hospital admission are falls, injuries caused by humans or animals, injuries from being hit crushed or cut, burns and scalds, and poisoning.



Hartlepool's emergency admission rate for falls is above that of both the north east and England averages, however for the other 4 indicators Hartlepool is below the north east average, and for exposure to animate mechanical forces and exposure to heat and hot substances Hartlepool is also below the England average.


Whilst the above figures produce the largest hospital admissions, there are a range of specific causes within each category that produce more severe injuries and death. Three of the most severe causes are falls from furniture, burns from food and hot fluid and poisoning from medicines.



Hartlepool has seen a reduction in the rate of falls from furniture narrowing the gap on both England and the north east from 97.7 and 51.9 respectively in 2008/09-2012/13 to 70.7 and 45.5 in 2012/13-2016/17. This is a 27% reduction in the gap to the England average and a 12% reduction to the north east average.



Hartlepool’s reduction in the number of burns from food and hot fluids has come during a period where nationally the rate has increased. This has placed Hartlepool considerably below both the England and north east rates. The decrease in Hartlepool's rate has stabilised over the last 2 reporting periods to around 21 cases per 100,000 population.



Hartlepool's rate of poisoning from medicines for under 4s has fallen from 193.0 to 145.2 per 100,000 population. This is now similar to the north east average of 145.8, but still some way higher than the England average of 101.5. However the gap between Hartlepool and England has reduced by 50.1%, from 94.8 to 97.3.

The numbers of children killed or seriously injured (KSI) on the roads in Hartlepool has seen a large spike in 2015/17, up to levels not previously seen in the reporting period.



Hartlepool’s rate of 37.7 per 100,000 population is more than double the England average, and is an increase of 82% on Hartlepool’s 2014/16 rate. Hartlepool’s rate is the largest in the north east and the 4th highest rate in England. Hartlepool’s increase in the KSI rate for children follows a period of decline, where the rate had fallen from 33.8 per 100,000 in 2011/13 to 20.8 per 100,000 in 2014/16.


Current Services


  • Young People with injuries should go straight to A&E, walk-in or to their GP. All A&E attendances for under 5’s are reviewed by health visitors to identify repeat issues and/or risk. They are addressed with parents individually and logged as significant events.


  • Health Visitors, School Nurses and Children’s Centres offer preventative advice individually and/or in groups.


  • Children’s Centres provide advice around home safety and use of equipment, safe sleep, sun safety, hot drinks (burns and scalds) and car safety.


  • There are regular preventative childhood safety messages through our Facebook page ‘Hartlepool Children’s Centres’ and we also promote safety in monthly early help events within the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre. 


Crucial Crew - As part of the Councils drive to reduce unintentional injuries in children and young people, the Children’s and Joint Commissioning Services along with other council departments and local partners co-ordinates an annual event called Crucial Crew.  Crucial Crew aims to provide an enjoyable way of teaching children to become more aware of personal safety, to learn how to react to dangerous situations and to provide an opportunity for children to practice safety skills in an exciting, stimulating and safe environment.  Seven organisations, comprising of Cleveland Fire Brigade, Northern Power Grid, Beamish Open Air Museum, HART, Cleveland Police, HBC & RNLI deliver interactive scenarios to over 1250 year 6 pupils from every primary schools across Hartlepool. Each scenario giving valuable information on health and safety issues.  Some of the scenarios include the use of telephones to practice making an emergency phone call. The program runs for 2 weeks with each school attending for a half day. Crucial Crew completed its 24th year in 2019.