Children's environmental health


school child about to cross a street

Every day nearly 2,300 children and adolescents die from injuries they sustain as a result of traffic accidents, drowning, poisoning, falls or burns, and violence. Over five million people worldwide die each year, whilst non-fatal harm is suffered by millions more. Most of these incidents occur in low- and middle-income countries. Many of those who survive their injuries suffer life-long disabling health consequences.

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 9% of global mortality 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.