Common Injuries to Children

Accidents can result in a wide range of injuries to children of different ages, for example:

  • Burns and scalds from boiling water, hot drinks or unguarded fires
  • Cuts from knives, broken glass or other sharp implements
  • Poisoning from medicines, cleaning substances or plants in the outdoor area
  • Falls from play equipment, which can result in broken bones, sprains or head injuries.

You have a responsibility to prevent injuries to children by being vigilant, following safety procedures and ensuring that equipment is in a good state of repair.

  • Research: research the Health and Safety Executive website at and examine the information about risk management. Investigate the procedures in your placement or work setting for recognizing and reporting hazards.

Make a list of the daily checks that are made to ensure children’s safety in the setting, both indoors and outdoors. Reflect on the importance of early years staff carrying out these daily checks and write a report for parents which explain how these checks help to prevent accidents to babies and children in the setting.


Supervision of children

Children should be supervised in the setting at all times. They must never leave the setting unsupervised and should only be released into the care of individuals who have been notified to the provider by the parents.

In addition, the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage also prescribes the number of staff that must be available to supervise children in the setting at all times.


Selecting appropriate resources

Children are curious and love to investigate. This can lead to all kinds of situations that could result in accidents occurring. As an early year’s practitioner, you need to have a thorough understanding of child development and children’s capabilities. You need to be able to select equipment, toys and play materials that are suitable for children’s age and stage of development.


Safety equipment

A wide range of safety equipment and other resources are available to help practitioners to keep children safe indoors, outdoors and on outings away from the setting. The choice of safety equipment used will depend on a variety of factors, including the age and stage of development of the children, the type of setting and the nature of the potential risks involved.

For example, safety gates, and fireguards make the home environment safer for toddlers, while playground surfaces, secure fencing, and CCTV cameras help to maintain a safer environment for children in group care.

All equipment used with babies and children, such as toys and play materials, electrical items and outdoor equipment, needs to meet the relevant health and safety standards. These items should display a product-safety logo, such as the CE mark, to show that they meet European health and safety standards.


Selecting appropriate resources for children

  • Age range
  • Development and capabilities
  • Examples of resources

Babies (0–1 year) Very dependent on adults: Can easily choke on small objects Choose toys and play materials with no loose or small parts.

Toddlers (1–2 years): Love to climb and explore. Much more mobile but have little sense of danger. Use stair gates, fireguards, and window and cupboard locks.

Pre-school children (2–4 years): Enjoy being independent. More coordinated but lack self-control. Choose resources that encourage independence safely, e.g. safety scissors and knives.

School-aged children (4–7 years): Enjoy investigating and testing their abilities. More mature but still require supervision. Provide challenging activities within safe limits, e.g. stabilizer wheels on bicycles and safety helmets.

School-age children need challenging activities within safe limits

Learning aim:

Understand how to prevent accidents and incidents and carry out risk assessments. Explain how to undertake risk assessments in early years Evaluate the extent to which risk assessment contributes to effective early years practice in a selected early year setting.