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Child road casualties in the North West peak during after-school rush: Doctors issue warning on teatime danger

  • Nearly half of road accidents to children in the North West occur between 3pm and 7pmcapt
  • Children in the North West more than twice as likely to suffer a serious burn between 3pm and 6pm

Teatime is dangerous for children in the North West. That's when serious accidents peak, according to findings released today by the Child Accident Prevention Trust.

The charity reveals how the end of the day spells the start of danger for children in the North West, with nearly half of all serious road accidents occurring between 3pm and 7pm.  And the danger doesn't stop there - children are also more than twice as likely to suffer a serious burn between 3pm and 6pm as they are during the morning.

The peak in child road deaths and injuries is linked to the after-school rush. In fact, the charity reports that there are more serious and fatal injuries to school-age pedestrians in the afternoon and early evening than at any other time of day.


The peak in serious burns reflects how, for many parents, teatime is when demands on their time also peak. Hot drinks are by far the biggest danger, followed by burns from the iron, kettle, cooker and bath. Babies and toddlers are most at risk, making up almost half of all child burns victims.

Dr Rachel Jenner, Consultant Paediatrician Emergency Medicine, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, knows first-hand about the impact of teatime accidents on children and their families.  Dr Jenner said:

"Scalds from cups of tea and coffee are one of the commonest preventable injuries in crawling babies and toddlers that we see in the Paediatric Emergency Department.

"Most parents take safety in the home very seriously, for example fitting safety gates. But they do not always realise the danger caused by hot drinks left on dining tables, coffee tables or kitchen worktops. Children can often reach further than their parents expect so make sure 'out of reach' really is a safe place."

The findings mark the launch of Child Safety Week, a national awareness campaign run by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT). The Week equips families with knowledge about serious accident risks to children and the simple steps they can take to prevent them.

Commenting on the findings, Katrina Phillips, Chief Executive, Child Accident Prevention Trust said: "Children in the North West suffer more serious burns and road accidents during the after-school rush than at any other time of day. Parents are up against it to get everyone home, tea on the table, clothes ironed and tired children into the bath. It's hardly surprising safety precautions get missed.

"But these can be devastating injuries. A hot drink can scar a baby for life. A child can suffer brain damage if hit by a car. Simple changes to teatime routines can protect children from serious harm - whether that's putting your mug of tea out of reach or practising road safety on the walk home from school. Visit our website capt.org.uk for practical advice on making teatime safer for children."


  • Burns to children most likely to happen at home between the hours of 3-6pm.
  • Almost half of all child burns involve spillages from hot drinks and kettles. Over 20% are caused by contact burns e.g. from irons and cookers.
  • 0-2s are most affected by burns; almost half of all injuries occur within this age range.
  • Nearly half (47.5%) of police-reported child pedestrian fatal or serious road injuries in the North West occur between 3pm and 7pm. Injuries reach their peak from 3pm to 4pm.
  • In the five years from 2008-2012, 3,500 children were killed or seriously injured on the roads between 3pm and 7pm, that's 13 children every week.


CAPT contacts: Pam Prentice, pam.prentice@capt.org.uk or Amy Charters, amy.charters@capt.org.uk, tel: 020 7608 7361



Notes to editors:

  1. Child Safety Week takes place during 1-7 June 2015 and is the Child Accident Prevention Trust's annual flagship community education campaign.
  2. The Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) is the UK's leading charity working to reduce the number of children and young people killed, disabled or seriously injured in accidents. Further information about CAPT is available at www.capt.org.uk
  3. The Child Accident Prevention Trust wishes to thank official Child Safety Week 2015 partners: the Scottish Government's Community Safety Unit (www.scotland.gov.uk), the Department for Transport (www.direct.gov.uk/think) and Bitrex® (www.bitrex.com).
  4. The Child Accident Prevention Trust is facilitating a range of activities during Child Safety Week, including the national Bitrex® Taste Test which is taking place at nurseries and children's centres across the country on Thursday 4 June. Further information is available at www.childsafetyweek.org.uk