Children's environmental health


school child about to cross a street

In 2012, 391 000 children aged 0-14 died from unintentional injuries, including road injuries, poisonings, falls, fire, exposure to heat and hot substances, drowning, exposure to forces of nature, and other unintentional injuries. The impact of this is felt by the 2000 families every day who suffer the loss of a child (or children) from unintentional injuries. In addition, tens of millions of children each year are injured or disabled, and may go on to suffer emotional and physical consequences for life.

Children and adolescents are not only affected by injuries to themselves, but also by injury to others. The loss or disability of parents or caregivers - or indeed of other members of the family - can have a profound effect on young people as they live with the ongoing effects of the financial burden and loss of income within the family that non-fatal injuries can cause.

Injuries account for 6% of total deaths among children 1-59 months, and are a threat to health in every country of the world. Yet awareness of the problem and its preventability, as well as political commitment to act to prevent child injury, remains unacceptably low.

WHO is building its response to the problem of child and adolescent injuries by launching a plan of action, outlined in the areas of data, research, prevention, services for those affected by injury, building capacity in countries, and advocacy.