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Accidents top cause of death for children
( 2003-11-19 09:09) (People's Daily)

At least 10 million children in China are estimated to suffer injuries from accidents every year, or about 10 percent of the number of children between the ages of one and 14 in the country.

Accidents have become the top cause of death for Chinese children, killing 100,000 children and disabling 400,000 every year, according to Song Wenzhen, an official with the National Women and Children's Working Committee of the State Council.

Song gave the figures Tuesday at a mid-term review meeting of the China-UNICEF Program 2001-2005.

Statistics from the committee show that drowning and traffic accidents are the top two causes of death. Other causes for children dying of accident injuries include suffocation, a sudden fall, injuries caused by animals and fires.

With the help of UNICEF, the National Women and Children's Working Committee investigated China's death cause registration system, national disease monitoring system and various related research to get a clearer picture of the issue in China.

Their research showed that the mortality rate of Chinese children has decreased from 18.19 per thousand in 1957 to 1.97 per thousand in 2000. The mortality rate for babies reduced from 200 per thousand in the early 1950s to 32 per thousand in 2000.

Studies in many countries show that children's deaths caused by diseases and unsanitary living conditions have been reduced while the accident injuries are becoming more serious. Meanwhile, disability caused by accidents also greatly affects children's physical and psychological development.

In May 2001, China made the Outline for Children's Development in China, making it one of its goals to lower the mortality rate of babies and children under the age of five.

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