Bedouin boys walk towards a village in southern Israel's Negev desert.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Although Arabs are a fifth of the population and their children 26 percent of all those under age 18, Arabs constitute 60 percent of children who are killed in accidents, according to a report presented by Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety and Health, to the Joint Arab List on Monday. The risk of an Arab child dying is four times that of a Jewish child to be hurt.
The Joint Arab list MKs discussed the issue and decided to organize a conference of all Arab local authorities on how to reduce the accident rate among Arab children. Beterem director Orly Silbinger said that the Arab public has to be educated and must educate themselves on preventing accidental deaths.
Every year in Israel, an average of 115 Israeli children die in accidents at home and in the public domain; of these, 21 were intentional, 91 unintentional and in three the case was not clear. Some 200,000 reach hospital emergency rooms and 23,000 are hospitalized for physical trauma.
The phenomenon of unintentional injuries in Israel is one of the main causes of death from birth through the age of 18, causing almost one quarter of child deaths in this age group. Arab babies are six times more likely to die that Jewish infants. The majority of children taken to hospitals are Arab Israelis. The most common accident involving vehicles and Arab children is when an adult backs out of a driveway and runs over them.
Of children who are critically injured, 54% are Arab; of those seriously injured, 49% are Arab; they constitute 41% of those hurt moderately and 38% of those lightly injured.
Most of the Arab children’s injuries are due to road accidents, with a third dying from accidents at home or near the home. Falls (usually from rooftops) is also very common. Other causes of unintentional child deaths are choking and drowning in the sea or other bodies of water.
In the past five years, most Arab children who were killed were in the South (mostly Beduin); in this area, Arab children are four times as likely to die in an accident than Arab children in the rest of the country.