A Guide for commissioners of child health services on preventing unintentional injuries among the under fives

Every year 60 under-fives die, 40,000 are admitted to hospital and 450,000 attend A&E due to accidental injuries at home. This is why: preventing accidents is one of the six High Impact Areas for health visiting; accident prevention is highlighted as a Best Start priority by Public Health England; Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) indicator 2.7 covers reducing hospital admissions from unintentional injuries for children.

Public Health England describes how local councils and their partners can achieve a step change for young children, often at low or no cost, by prioritising the accidents that matter and mobilising existing services through more effective commissioning.

New guide for commissioners

If your authority is reviewing the commissioning of health visiting, early years or family support services, this new evidence-based guide will help to integrate child accident prevention into the specifications of key services for children under five.

Developed by the University of Nottingham and the Child Accident Prevention Trust, this authoritative document fills a significant gap, presenting evidence-based statements on preventing poisoning, falls, scalds and fire-related injuries. It enables commissioners of health visiting, early years and family support services to integrate effective accident prevention interventions into the specifications of key services for children under five.

The guide is based on findings from a large number of studies about what works to prevent child accidents and which interventions are cost-effective. It dovetails with NICE guidance PH29 and PH30, and supports action areas identified by Public Health England in Reducing unintentional injuries in and around the home among children under five years (2014).

It is particularly relevant to commissioners of health visiting services as it provides guidance on key safety initiatives that should be delivered at the 9 month and 2-2.5 year contact as part of the Healthy Child Programme. It also presents guidance to commissioners of services provided through children’s centres and other early years and family support services.

Delivering effective services – workforce training from CAPT

The guide highlights how workforce training is an important element of any service commissioned to prevent childhood injuries. This reinforces guidance from Public Health England that:

“The early years workforce needs support and training to enable it to strengthen its central role in helping to reduce unintentional injuries.”

Last year CAPT’s in-house training helped over 450 practitioners, including health visitors, community nursery nurses and children’s centre staff to make the most of routine contacts with parents and deliver integrated services.

“Our biggest challenge in child accident prevention is time and resources, but the training today has shown how to overcome that.”

With in-house training, our expert trainers come direct to you. Your organisation provides the venue and recruits course participants. These two courses focus on the under-fives:

How to engage parents on child accident prevention

Supporting home safety (includes using home safety checklists)

We work closely with the Institute of Health Visiting and Public Health England. This ensures that all our training meets the needs of Healthy Child Programme (0-5) practitioners.

Commissioning value-for-money services – consultancy from CAPT

CAPT also provides consultancy, helping local authority and NHS teams devise strategies and activities to reduce serious childhood injuries. For example, evidence shows that supplying and fitting home safety equipment, coupled with education, reduces significant injuries for under-fives. Our experts can help you commission value-for-money services that deliver.

“CAPT provided us with specialist advice to help review and redesign our local child accident prevention scheme, drawing on their experience and knowledge of best practice schemes in other areas.  This resulted in an improved service specification and delivery model based on the best available evidence of what works in preventing childhood accidents.” – Health Improvement Principal, Local Authority Public Health Team.

More information


Kevin Lowe, Head of Consultancy and Training Services. Tel: 020 7608 7363

Updated September 2016