Children’s Accidental Injuries

Children’s accidental injuries are one of the major causes of death to children all over the world. In fact, millions of children die each year from unintentional injuries. Such injuries can be as common as cuts and burns to those severe injuries injuries sustained by a pedestrian vs. auto collision. Progress in many countries has been made due to manufacturers recall of products, including toys, that are deemed unsafe. Additionally, many governments have mandated the use of things safety items such as car seats, safety belts in vehicles and bicycle helmets for children.

But there are still large areas of danger, such as pool injuries that result in drowning, the accidental swallowing of household cleaning products, getting burned by being in contact with a hot stove or oven, or being shot accidentally by a loaded firearm. Parents need to be vigilant in protecting children to make sure the environment is safe.

Unintentional injuries are one of the major causes of death and debility in millions of kids who live in developing countries. The inherent dangers of the living places, heavy traffic and a lack of a safe place to play are leading causes of injury in developing countries. Lack of appropriate childcare is another risk factor for childhood injuries. There is little access to emergency services and many can’t afford access to emergency services if it existed.

In these countries, attention is paid to nutritional problems and communicable disease. In this area, child mortality numbers are going down. However, death due to injury is seen as a less significant problem in developing countries. Therefore, there is little research and attention paid to the issue of childhood accidents in some lands. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to think of unintentional injuries as something that is unpreventable. There is an immediate need for more research to understand the nature of childhood injuries in developing countries.

A study was done in Japan on the issue of childhood morbidity and mortality due to accidental injuries. The study was done on 4500 children ages 0-18 years of age who attended a specific emergency room in 1990. The number of patients who had injuries unrelated to traffic accidents was 243. This number was twice the number of children involved in traffic injuries (131 injuries). (Children with relatively ordinary injuries like cuts or scrapes were excluded from the total number of accident patients.)

The most common accidental injury was ingestion or inhalation of a foreign body. Most foreign bodies were ingested into the Gl tract. A total of 42 kids suffered from bronchial foreign bodies. Peanuts were the number one cause of inhalation of foreign bodies. In fact peanuts and other food like peanuts were ingested into the bronchial tree more than 80 percent of the time.

There were 38 cases in which a child nearly drowned and was therefore admitted to the hospital. Among the 38 cases just mentioned, five of the children died. Three of them suffered severe neurological sequelae. Thirty kids survived without residual injury. Bathtubs at home were the most common site of near drowning in young children.

These statistics are listed for educational purposes. They illustrate the real dangers that exist in our homes and the need for adults, governments, and schools to take action that would prevent these injuries.

Nonetheless, from time to time, incidents occur that do result in an injury to a child. If a minor you know has been involved in an incident resulting in injury, feel free to contact this office, Law Offices of Edward A. Smith, for advice on how to handle such claims.

(Photo Attributed to Steevven1, via Wikimedia Commons)

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