Young, Old and Disadvantaged
We all know the devastating impact accidents can have. A facial disfigurement can destroy a child's confidence forever. A spinal injury can stop you working to support your family or pick up your kids, while severe brain damage can leave you unable to care for yourself, or permanently alter your personality, robbing you of your identity, independence and dignity.
Who do accidents affect?
While nearly everyone has at least some firsthand experience of the misery accidents can cause, the sad truth is that accidents affect those least likely to be in a position to protect themselves, namely children under 5, people aged over 65 and those from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds.
There are a number of reasons why certain groups are affected more than others by accidents. For example, older people are often less steady on their feet, and are also more likely to hurt themselves badly if they suffer a fall. Similarly, young children lack the life experience to protect themselves – that's why they rely on us to look after them. While it goes without saying that the odd bumped head or grazed knee is simply part of growing up, we do need to take extra special care to shield our children from potentially life threatening situations. After all, it only takes a split second for things to go horribly wrong.
More troubling is the correlation between poverty and accidents. As much progress as we have made over the last 100 years, the fact remains that disadvantaged children are still more likely to die in an accident than children from more affluent backgrounds. The reasons for these inequalities are complex, but include greater exposure to busy roads, a lack of access to education, less money to buy safety equipment and fewer safe spaces for children to play.
What can we do?
For 100 years now, we've worked with families and businesses around the world to save lives and stop people being hurt. While we've come a long way, especially in the workplace, it's now time to shine the spotlight on the place where accidents are most likely to happen – our homes. By sharing our stories, advice and experience, we can ensure we reach every corner of our society. Accidents don't have to happen – with your help we can make sure the most vulnerable people in our community have the same chances as everyone else.