A home-visiting scheme should be introduced to help prevent injuries to toddlers, say emergency doctors and safety campaigners.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) have argued that such a visiting scheme would improve toddler safety at home, save money and take the pressure of busy A&E departments.

Every year nearly half a million toddlers visit emergency departments in England. While bumps and scraps are a normal part of toddlerhood, under-five’s are particularly vulnerable to injuries at home.

Data from Oxfordshire, recently highlighted by the two organisations, suggests that there is a “threat to life or limb and/or severe pain” in around one in five visits.

Home-visiting scheme

The organisations are recommending a sustained £20m home-visiting scheme run by professional safety advisers, who would work with health visitors to give information, advice, and equipment, where necessary.

The universal programme would be rolled out across the UK, starting with England.

They estimate that this would reduce emergency treatments by 30 per cent and save the health service more than £40m.

Part of the solution

Michael Corley, of the RoSPA, claims that this move could provide part of the solution to overcrowded emergency departments.

He said: “There’s a lot we can do to target those areas where there’s a high incidence of accidental injury – and work alongside families to point out to them the individual hazards in homes.

“We know that burns and scalds, falls especially, asphyxiation and poisoning all represent major threats to nought to five-year-olds and yet the solution to the problem is very simple.”

Eustace de Sousa, of Public Health England, said that the national organisation is already supporting health visitors to improve safety and help prevent accidents.

“We provide advice and information to local authorities on the actions they can take to help families think about what they can do at home and in public places to keep their children safer,” he said.

Source: BBC News