Survey launched today reveals that child casualties peak during after-school rush

1 Jun 2015

Serious accidents peak at teatime, according to CAPT survey.



Doctors issue warning of teatime danger

  • Over half of serious road accidents to children occur between 3pm and 7pm
  • Children more than twice as likely to suffer a serious burn between 3pm and 6pm

Teatime is dangerous for children.  That’s when serious accidents peak, according to our findings released today.

The end of the day spells the start of danger for children, with over half of all serious road accidents occurring between 3pm and 7pm[i]

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:

Source: International Burn Injury Database[ii]

The peak in child road deaths and injuries is linked to the after-school rush. In fact, our report shows 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.

Source: Public Health England1

The peak in serious burns reflects how, for many parents, teatime is when demands on their time 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 nearly half of all child burn victims.

Source: International Burn Injury Database2

Dr Asif Rahman, Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine at St Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, knows first-hand about the impact of teatime accidents on children and their families. Dr Rahman said:

"We see a massive peak at this time of day, from serious burns and road accidents through to more minor injuries. Burns from hot drinks and kettles are particularly distressing. Parents often blame themselves and feel the accident was their fault. They'd do anything to prevent the pain their child is suffering. That is why campaigns like Child Safety Week are so important, to raise awareness of the simple things that families can do to stop serious injuries happening."

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 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 measures 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 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 e.g. from hot drinks and kettles. Over 20% are caused by contact burns e.g. from irons and cookers.

Source: International Burn Injury Database2

  • 0-2s are most affected by burns; almost half of all injuries occur within this age range.
  • Over half of police-reported child pedestrian fatal or serious road injuries occur between 3pm and 7pm among children and young people under 16. 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.



[i] Data analysis for unintentional injuries on the roads among children and young people under 25 years, Public Health England, 2014. Available from:   

[ii] According to a report covering acute injuries seen in burn services in England and Wales from 2003-2015 among children aged 0-19, prepared by the International Burn Injury Database for the Child Accident Prevention Trust.