Injury Prevention in Children
Every day around 1000 children die worldwide. Most of these deaths can be prevented by taking simple injury prevention measures. Huge number of children becomes seriously injured for life. In developing countries like ours where we lose so many children to infectious diseases; it adds to the mortality burden of country. More than 90% of these injuries are unintentional.
RTA ( road traffic accidents), fall from height, burns, poisoning, drowning are the main causes of death in children due to injuries.
Road traffic accidents (RTA)
It is the leading cause worldwide. various methods which can help in preventing these deaths are Proper use of seat belts and child restrainer devices , wearing helmets, driving and walking in designated lanes, driving within speed limits and to avoid drunken driving.
Fall from beds are very common and most baby survive with only bruises and scratches. But still more than 100 children die daily due to fall from height. Many of these deaths can be avoided by using well fitted window panels, child proofing doors and windows and play areas.
Burn injuries from hot water or flames are commonly seen in young children. Preventive measures which can help are smoke alarms, temperature regulators, using fire crackers under supervision of adults.
Another common cause of death in young children is poisoning. Daily numerous calls are received by poison cell. Accidental poisoning can be prevented by child proofing cabinets, keeping toilet cleaner out of reach of children, keeping kerosene oil safely and all the medicines away from children.
Drowning is another cause of death in coastal areas. But many small children can drown head down in buckets or bathtub.So to prevent these deaths, we need to store water only in closed container and keep tub empty.
Children living in poor economical conditions are more likely to be living in unsafe environment. They might be living close to road with high traffic, poor and unstable construction, illegal electricity connection etc.
Child deaths have decreased significantly over last decade (in western countries) due to following measures:
- Enforcing laws for child safety like having child proof cabinet for storage of medicines and floor cleaners etc.
- Structural modification in public places like proper railing for child safety in stairs, well fitted windows, fencing around pools, life guards etc.
- Public awareness campaigns
- Better emergency care
- Proper storage of flammable objects
- Parental guidance
- Better disaster management
In India major issue is with enforcing laws rather than making them. Authorities should be more vigilant and we should also know our social responsibility.
Right to safety
All children have the right to a safe environment and deserve protection from injury. With proper awareness, environmental modifications and good emergency care, it can be achieved.
Dr Rahul Varma