(photo credit: Zaka)
The risk of death by accident among Arab children is 2.7 times that of their Jewish counterparts, and the danger of their being killed in a road accident is six times that of Jewish children, according to statistics revealed on Sunday by Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety and Health.
The center conducted a special survey on the involvement of Arab children in accidents in their homes and neighborhoods and on the roads. Beterem found that the problem is complicated by the fact that Arab parents, especially religious women, tend to regard accidents as a matter of "fate" or "God's will" and which cannot be prevented. Fully a third of the women said that accidents cannot happen to infants and toddlers under the age of two.
Economic, social, environmental, familial and other problems - including less easy access to hospitals - are responsible for the higher accident and death rate of Arab children. For example, Arabs have larger families, and parents are unable to keep an eye on all of them at once. In addition, there is not universal separation between the home and the street, and there are too few public parks and playgrounds for them.
Every year, some 170 Israeli children die in accidents, 24,000 are hospitalized and 185,000 are taken to hospital emergency rooms. Arabs constitute 41 percent of children who die in accidents and 38% of those who are hospitalized due to accidents. In one year, there are 12.3 deaths by accident per 100,000 children in the Arab sector compared to 4.5 in the Jewish sector. Those Arab children who are hospitalized tend to suffer more severe injuries than their Jewish counterparts.
The most common injuries among Arab children are burns (36.1%), falls (28.5%), traumatic injuries (13.2%) and cuts (12.3%). Burns are most common among children under the age of two. In recent years, there has been an increase in the prevalence of children's falls from heights (as from the roof or in stairwells). Arab boys under two are also most at risk for inhaling foreign objects into their tracheas. In an average year, 25 Arab children up to the age of nine are killed by vehicles, and most of them are pedestrians rather than inside the vehicles. Some of these incidents involved vehicles that were reversed carelessly and hit the child.