UN: 830,000 children die each year from preventible accidents

In Israel, rate is 170 kids annually.

child broken leg 88 (photo credit: )
child broken leg 88
(photo credit: )
Some 2,200 children worldwide die in accidents on an average day, amounting to some 830,000 children a year, according to the first World Report on Child Injury Prevention, issued Wednesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. The annual figure in Israel is 170 children, according to Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety and Health in Petah Tikva that is dedicated to reducing the preventible deaths of children. Dr. Rosa Gofin, an accident-prevention expert at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine in Jerusalem, was one of some 180 consultants to the WHO in preparing the draft report. According to WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan, in addition to the yearly death toll, "millions of children suffer non-fatal injuries that often require long-term hospitalization and rehabilitation. The costs of such treatment can throw an entire family into poverty. Children in poorer families and communities are at increased risk of injury because they are less likely to benefit from prevention programs and high quality health services." The five most common causes of accidental deaths in children worldwide are car crashes (260,000 children killed per year, and about 10 million injured); drowning (175,000 dead plus three million survivors); fire-related burns (96,000); falls (47,000 dead and hundreds of thousands injured); and unintended poisoning (45,000 dead). In Israel, nearly a quarter of unintentional deaths are child pedestrians, about one-fifth are passengers in vehicles, 3%-7% are from choking, and 5%-6% from drowning. Beterem's new director, Orly Silbinger, told The Jerusalem Post that 95% of unintentional child deaths were in developing countries, with the highest figures in Africa - 10 times the rate in Western countries. But tens of thousands of Western children also die needlessly, she said. Falling from heights and being run over by reversing vehicles are much more common among Israeli Arab children, who are three times more likely than their Jewish counterparts to be involved in accidents, she said. However, says Silbinger, there has been a 30% decline in child deaths from accidents in the last decade, partly from increased awareness, legislation and prevention efforts by her organization. The organization is also active in international child safety efforts. Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom have the lowest rates of child injury. Governments and voluntary organizations can take relatively simple actions to reduce accidental child injury, such as passing and enforcing laws on child-appropriate seatbelts and bicycle helmets, child-resistant covers on medicine bottles, lighters and household product containers, and separate traffic lanes for motorcycles or bicycles. In addition, they can educate parents and strengthen emergency medical care and rehabilitation services.The 211-page report can be downloaded in English at www.who.int/violence-injury-prevention/child/injury/world-report/World-report.pdf