Accidents just happen, right? Wrong!!

Accidents do happen but many can be prevented. What can you do to stop yourself being next in the line at A & E?

Accidents to young people is a significant health issue, being amongst the leading, but preventable, causes of death, serious injury and long-term disability. In short, accidents don’t have to happen. By their very nature, accidents are unplanned, traumatic and painful for the victims. Young people have been identified as one of the groups most vulnerable to suffering accidental injury, particularly between the ages of 15–24 with road and leisure accidents being the most common form.


Did you know?

An average of 571 young people aged 15-24 die each year as a result of accidents and around 61,000 are admitted to hospital due to accidental injuries!

Road accidents are the top injury that results in death, with falls being the injury that takes top spot in the A and E queue.


So, what can you do to prevent accidents?

The teenage years are a time in our life associated with an increase in risk taking and thrill-seeking behaviour. Taking first steps into independent travel, moving from studying at school to further education and for some people experiencing moving away from home all contribute to influencing our risk to a preventable accident.


Young Drivers:

Unfortunately, this group are topping the table in accidental figures, and it’s not just the drivers who are at risk, it’s their passengers.  Research involving 16-17 year olds found that young people involved in cycle, moped/motorcycle and car accidents, as drivers, are more likely to be male and more likely to be engaged with drugs and alcohol. The development of the adolescent brain has been linked to risk factors including driving at high speed, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and driving without wearing a seatbelt.



There has been little research into the nature of young people’s fall injuries. Slips, trips or stumbles account for 13 % of all fall related hospital admissions. Falls from a height, such as down the stairs, are also common.

Where young people differ in the nature of their falls, is in leisure pursuits such as tombstoning (jumping from a height into water) and this is very much linked to peer pressure along with emerging evidence regarding the influence of alcohol.



Yet again teenagers and young adults lead the statistics when it comes to accidental drowning and this has been associated with… you guessed it, risk-taking and thrill-seeking behaviour. Males top the charts as being at most risk and in half of all fatal drownings the victim had no intention of entering the water and was engaged in everyday activities such as walking. I am sure you can also guess that contributing factors were alcohol and lack of appropriate clothing/equipment.



Stay tucked up in bed and never step out the door?!

Never drink, learn to drive or go near stairs or water?!


Tempting as those actions may be or not be, the solution is not to never engage in activities again. Knowledge is power and steps you take to prevent yourself from being in high risk situations would appear to be the best way forward. Empower yourself with strategies to not be influenced by peer pressure, feeling safer and more in control, will lead to making better choices. Build the resilience to walk away from situations that could result in injuries. Having an increased awareness of everyday risks, know your limits with alcohol and recognise hazards. Laws have been brought in to limit young people’s exposure to risky situations (e.g. laws to prohibit the sale of fireworks to under 18s) so adhering to those will reduce your chances of being another statistic in A and E.

Accidents do and will happen but most are not wholly new or unforeseeable, make sure you educate, empower and enable yourself to make the right decisions.