New report on prevention of injuries caused to children
12 December 2008 -- More than 2000 children die every day as a result of unintentional or accidental injuries. In this episode, we look at how these deaths and many more lifelong disabilities can be prevented.
Transcript of the podcast
Veronica Riemer: You’re listening to the WHO podcast. My name is Veronica Riemer and this is episode number 55.
More than 2000 children die every day as a result of unintentional or accidental injuries. In this episode we look at how these deaths and many more lifelong disabilities can be prevented.
A new report released by WHO and UNICEF says that more than 2000 children die every day as a result of unintentional, or accidental injuries. Every year, tens of millions of children worldwide are taken to hospitals with injuries that often leave them with lifelong disabilities. Dr Etienne Krug, Director of the WHO Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability describes the main causes of child injuries.
Dr Etienne Krug: The leading causes of injuries to children in the world are road traffic crashes, burns, drowning, falls and poisoning. 830 000 children die every year in the world from these unintentional injuries, which is a considerable number: it represents the equivalent of the child population in Chicago. The World Report on Child Injury Prevention shows that once a kid reaches age 9, unintentional injuries become the leading cause of death until it reaches the adult age.
Veronica Riemer: The World Report on Child Injury Prevention provides the first complete global assessment of unintentional injuries caused to children. It prescribes steps that have been proven to be effective in preventing such injuries. The report says if these preventive steps were adopted everywhere, at least 1000 children’s lives could be saved every day. Margie Peden coordinator of unintentional injury prevention at WHO and executive editor of the report, tells us what we can do to prevent children from being injured.
Margie Peden: Child injuries are not accidents, most of them are predictable, so therefore we can prevent them. The boiling kettle with its electric cord hanging down for little hands to pull, the gate at the top of the stairs left open for wobbly toddlers to tumble down, the washing powder stored under the sink for inquisitive minds… Likewise the young boy, showing off in front of his peers on the playground equipment or the teenager who has just got his drivers licence, may not be fully aware of risks that they are taking.
Governments and industry should take into account children's vulnerabilities when roads are designed, playgrounds are built or products are developed.
Veronica Riemer: Nuru Mohammed, a 12-year-old Ethiopian student at the International School of Geneva, was involved in a head-on car crash when he was six years old. He was the only passenger in the car who was wearing a seat belt and so didn’t need to be hospitalized. He tells us how this experience has changed his life.
Nuru Mohammed: We had just left the school and someone was driving on the wrong side of the road because he was waving to his friend and then we crashed. The shock was pretty hard and my friend's mum wasn't wearing her safety belt and neither was my friend, and they all got bad injuries. My friend broke his arm and immediately had to go to the hospital, but since I had my safety belt I just had a little bump on my head and I didn't need to go to the hospital. After this accident I always put on my safety belt and my mum always puts on hers and I keep telling my friends it is always good to wear a safety belt.
Veronica Riemer: Dr Adnan Hyder is the President of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention. He highlights the urgent need for more active measures to prevent childhood injuries.
Dr Adnan Hyder: This report has a very critical message: research and development have to go hand in hand with documenting the burden of the problem and effectively intervening in child injury prevention around the world. It is extremely important for those of us not only who are in academics or in research institutions, but especially those in the public sector, especially ministries of health, to become involved in relevant research, in strategic evidence gathering, to inform our policies and to help implement those interventions that are both relevant to our countries, but also will impact in saving the maximum number of children's lives that we can each year.
Veronica Riemer: If you want to know more about child injuries and what you can do to save children's lives, then download a copy of the report from www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention.
That's all for this episode of the WHO podcast. Thanks for listening. If you have any comments on our podcast or have any suggestions for future health topics drop us a line. Our email address is Podcast@who.int.
For the World Health Organization, this is Veronica Riemer in Geneva.