Accidents kill 2,000 children worldwide every day

December 10th, 2008 - 3:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Manila, Dec 10 (Xinhua) More than 2,000 children are killed in accidents or as a result of unintentional injury every day, while tens of millions are left with life-long disabilities every year, a report on accidental deaths of children by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has said.”Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of childhood death after the age of nine years and that 95 percent of these injuries occur in developing countries. More must be done to prevent such harm to children,” a press release of WHO’s Manila-based Western Pacific Regional Office quoted Unicef executive director Ann M. Veneman as saying Wednesday.

She said the World Report on Child Injury Prevention, authored jointly by 180 experts across the world, finds road crashes, drowning, burns, fall and poisoning are the top five causes of injury or death of children.

According to the report, road accidents kill 260,000 children every year and injure about 10 million.

Africa has the highest rate of unintentional injury to children leading to death. The report finds the rate is ten times higher in Africa than in high-income countries in Europe and the western Pacific such as Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and Britain, which have the lowest rates of child injury.

“Child injuries are an important public health and development issue. In addition to the 830,000 deaths every year, millions of children suffer non-fatal injuries that often require long-term hospitalization and rehabilitation,” said WHO chief Margaret Chan.

She said children in poorer families and communities are at increased risk of injury because they are less likely to benefit from prevention programmes and high quality health services.

The report said such tragedies can be reduced by half by strict implementation of safety measures that include laws on seat belts and helmets for children, separate traffic lanes for motorcycles or bicycles, redesigning nursery furniture, toys and playground equipment and strengthening emergency medical care and rehabilitation services.

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