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Road accident a major kids-killer in Beijing
By Wang Ying (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-16 02:35

Traffic accidents are the biggest killer of children in Beijing, according to a report published Wednesday.

The findings of the Beijing Child Injury Report revealed that an average of 17 children are injured in traffic accidents every day in Beijing, with some accidents causing serious injuries or death.

Children aged between 10 and 17 who ride bicycles are the most likely victims of traffic accidents among youngsters, said Zeng Guang, a professor with the Chinese Centre for Disease Control.

With support from the United Nations Children's Fund, Zeng's centre, along with the National Working Committee for Children and Women and the Ministry of Health, began the child injury survey in the capital in October 2003.

Experts found that injury is the leading cause of childhood and adolescent death and disability in the country.

But Zeng warned that deaths resulting from injuries "are only the tip of an iceberg."

"For every injured child who dies, many more have various degrees of trauma and disability and the economic costs of injury are a heavy drag on families and society."

More than 50,000 children were injured in Beijing last year.

The survey, which investigated 28,084 families across the city, found that animal bites, an emerging problem, became the second biggest cause of child injury in Beijing.

An increasing number of residents in Beijing have pets, but many parents do not know that these animals are hazardous to their children.

Many children do not know how to safely play with pets.

Every day, an average of 30 children are bitten by pets in the city, the report showed.

The annual economic cost of animals biting children in Beijing is 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million), the report revealed.

In rural areas, drowning is one of the top killers of children as youngsters are eager to play in rivers and lakes.

Other problems, such as falls, burns, scalding and poisoning also threaten the safety of children.

Child care experts called of for the creation of a safe home, school and community environment for children and for increased efforts to prevent child injuries.

Beijing Women's Federation is drafting guidelines to prevent child injury and plans to add child injury prevention to the city's child development guidelines (2006-2010), said Rong Hua, chairwoman of the federation.

Trial child injury prevention programmes will be introduced to schools and families, Rong said.

Other parts of the country will soon be encouraged to learn from Beijing's successful experience to stop these preventable injuries, experts said.

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