Stats show child deaths from preventable accidents down

By
June 29, 2011 05:00

Despite the improvement, Israel is in 15th place among 34 countries when listed for the population rate of accidental child deaths.

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Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman

Litzman 311. (photo credit: JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVITCH)

An average of 144 children and teenagers die in an average year from totally preventable accidents, despite partially successful efforts by BETEREM, the National Center for Child Safety and Health, to prevent them.

According to statistics released by BETEREM in a special report presented on Tuesday to Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman, an average of 216 children died in accidents between 1995 and 1997 and 144 youths on average between 2006 and 2008. This is the latest data available despite computerized information in hospitals.

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Despite the improvement, Israel – which last year became an official member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – is in 15th place among 34 countries when listed for the population rate of accidental child deaths, meaning that it has a higher rate than 19 other OECD nations.

Health Ministry director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu said that a massive cooperative effort can be made to reduce deaths of children.

BETEREM chairman Ofer Ne’eman told reporters that a third of all emergency room visits by children up to the age of 17 are by victims of unintentional accidents.

“Their deaths are not inevitable,” he said. Those who are at higher risk are babies and toddlers, boys, teens and Arabs. Children from low-income and poorly educated families are much more likely to be hurt in accidents than those who are well-educated and in higher socio-economic groups.

Accidents are the biggest cause of deaths in the 0-17 age group. Just during the summer months’ summer vacation last year, 50 children died of accidents. During the first week of high school vacation this year, six died due to accidents.

In addition, numerous parents are irresponsible and/or absent-minded; 45 percent of Israeli children who are taken to hospital emergency rooms need treatment for unintentional accidents from burns, falls and road accidents to poisonings, drownings, home injuries and being injured by vehicles. The number of dead young people constitutes four classes of schoolchildren a year – and that does not include the 182,000 children injured in accidents and treated in emergency rooms every year.


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