Accidental deaths among children total a whopping 830,000 each year, a new World Health Organization (WHO) report recently revealed. Most of these deaths occur in Africa, or in the poorest regions of the globe, where children are offered inadequate protection against car traffic, or are not safeguarded from falling into puddles or lakes, and drowning.
Among the top five killers are car accidents, which murder about 260,000 children annually and injure a further 10 million, drowning, which is the leading cause of death among kids aged 1 to 4, burns, long falls and accidental poisoning, when the little ones find various containers left behind by parents and drink whatever is inside. "We were surprised at how big the problem was at a global level. There is ignorance about the magnitude and the potential for prevention," the report says.
Developed countries also have high death numbers among children, as evidenced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s reports, which argue that some 8,000 American children die every year in car accidents alone. And nearly half of these deaths could be avoided, the same survey said, if proper markers and protection methods were employed near children's parks or alongside construction sites.
"Poorer children have not shared in all the gains of children of wealthier nations. Childhood injury is a cause of social injustice that needs to be addressed," argues University of the West of England child health expert, Elizabeth Towner, who also contributed to writing the WHO report.
"Every child lost to injury or severely disabled will cost the future economy of that country." That's why reducing the numbers of child injuries "will reduce costs in the health care system, improve the capacity to make further reductions in injury rates and will most importantly protect children," the report adds.
Seeing how 95 percent of all kids die in Africa and the underdeveloped world, it becomes obvious that international programs need to address these regions first and foremost, as the need for education and aid is greatest here. The WHO urges the UN not to turn a blind eye to this problem, even now when the financial crisis looms worldwide.