National Kidsafe Day is a day to focus on the prevention of unintentional childhood injuries. While the number of injury related deaths and hospital admissions for children have reduced by more than half over the last two decades, according to Kidsafe Victoria, Australia is still a long way behind countries such as Germany, Sweden and Singapore.
Dr Mark Stokes, President of Kidsafe Victoria said “Every day, around 180 children are admitted to hospitals in Australia as a result of injury. Some of these children will suffer permanent scarring or disability as a result of their injury. Tragically, around four children per week will die as a result of injury. Our society has become too acceptable of the term accident, the fact of the matter is that most unintentional injuries are both predictable and preventable.”
According to Kidsafe Victoria more Australian children aged 1 – 14 years die as a result of injury than from cancer, asthma and infectious diseases combined. In 2005, 35% of all deaths in this age group were due to injury. Unintentional injuries account for about 96% of injury hospital admissions and about 90% of injury deaths in children up to 14 years of age.
Preventing childhood injuries does not mean “wrapping children in cotton wool” but does involve supervision, and creating and maintaining safer environments in which children can learn, grow and develop safety conscious behaviours. Minor bumps, bruises and grazes will always occur, but things can be done to prevent serious injury and injury related deaths to children.
Tips to reduce childhood injuries:
- Make sure all children are restrained appropriately for their weight and size when in the car;
- Ensure children wear a well fitting, appropriate helmet when riding bikes or using skateboards and roller skates;
- Ensure swimming pools are properly fenced and gates close properly;
- Supervise children in and around water;
- Don’t leave young babies and toddlers unattended on beds or other furniture;
- Ensure play equipment has suitable impact absorbing surfacing under and around the equipment; and
- Provide a safe environment for children to learn and develop the skills needed to keep themselves safe from injury.
For further information on keeping children safe, or to find out what Kidsafe is doing in your state or territory on National Kidsafe Day, contact your local Kidsafe office or visit www.kidsafe.com.au