Child summer death rate significantly down this year

Adults and kids alike should be careful with certain holiday foods.

Herzliya beach  298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Herzliya beach 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The number of children and teenagers who died unnatural deaths during the summer school break was the lowest in years, according to the National Council for the Child. Noting on Sunday that the death of any child is a tragedy, council head Dr. Yitzhak Kadman said that "only" 16 people under the age of 18 died in July and August compared to 21 in 2008 and 31 in 2007. In 2006, a total of 34 children - including seven killed by Katyusha rockets and missiles fired during the Second Lebanon War - died during the school vacation, while the 2005 figure was 25. However, Kadman said the average number of deaths among minors remained at six or seven per month in 2009, thus far, very similar to previous years. And the fatality rates remained higher during the more dangerous summer months than during the school year. The council was pleased, however, that for the first time in many years, no child died this summer by being left alone by a parent or caregiver in an overheated vehicle. Despite these encouraging statistics, murders of children continued this year with three such tragedies. Kadman praised Beterem, the National Council for Child Safety and Health, for its educational work to minimize accidents involving children. The latest statistics, he continued, demonstrate that with effort and attention, the death toll among children can be reduced - and minimized even more. Meanwhile, Beterem issued a warning about not feeding children under the age of five unboned fish, pieces of hard fruit or vegetables, raisins, whole grapes, pomegranate seeds, nuts, dates and other foods that cannot easily be swallowed. Fresh carrot and apple should be cut into very small pieces or cooked until soft. Young children should not be given honey until after their first birthday because of possible allergies. Small children should be kept away from hot liquids such as soup, tea and coffee. The upcoming High Holidays, when fish is more commonly prepared and eaten, can pose harm to adults as well. Rambam Medical Center in Haifa reported on Sunday that two men were admitted with serious infections due to contact with raw fish. One man, 63, was in the general intensive care unit and the other, 49, was in the orthopedics department after undergoing surgery to remove necrotic tissue that infected his arm. Both men had been cleaning fish; the younger man had caught the fish by himself in a fish pond in Beit She'an where fishing is legal. His arm remains swollen three times its normal size, and he needs to undergo an additional operation. The older man purchased the fish in a fish store and did not ask the fish monger to clean it properly for him. Both infections were due to Vibrio vulnificus bacteria found in the fins and scales of the fish. The second case resulted from an unusual secondary infection created by a cut in the man's skin from the knife he used to clean the fish.