Some 800 doctors, nurses, educators, engineers and safety experts will convene at the Jerusalem International Convention Center (Binyanei Ha’uma) on Wednesday to establish the subject of child safety as part of the national agenda.

The conference is being organized by Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety and Health.

“We have internal professional conferences on a regular basis,” Beterem director Orly Silbinger told The Jerusalem Post, “but this is the first time we are getting together to draw the attention that raises the country’s awareness of safety issues and children to the highest priority.”

The all-day event is being sponsored by the Jerusalem Municipality and the Health Ministry.

Every year, many tens of thousands of Israeli children reach hospital emergency rooms following accidents at home and nearby. These include playground injuries, fires, drownings, burns, falls, and unintentional poisonings.

They occur throughout the year, but a higher proportion occur during summer vacation and holidays. Such accidents are the main cause of death in children up to the age of 14.

“The country must upgrade the issue,” Silbinger said. “We want child safety to be a part of daily thinking. At present, it does not have enough priority. We also have to discuss the role of the media. Accidents involving children involve huge financial costs, not to mention the human and societal costs.”

The conference will be addressed by Katie Carr, chief executive officer of Safe Kids Worldwide, of which Beterem is a branch. The non-profit organization was founded in 1987 and is based in Washington, DC.

Members of the international body teach families about child injury risks and prevention. They also encourage and conduct research on leading injury risks; evaluate solutions for these risks; work to pass and improve child safety laws and regulations; provide lifesaving devices such as child safety seats, helmets and smoke alarms to families that need them; and promote corporate leadership in child safety through effective and sustainable partnerships.

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