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Injuries the number one cause of death among children

Injuries the number one cause of death among children
June 15, 2017

The first ever national study on childhood injury in Australia has revealed that injuries are the number one cause of death in children under 17.

The recently released study, which assessed nearly 700,000 hospitalisations over the past 10 years, shows that each year about 149 children die and 680,000 children aged 16 and younger are hospitalised from injuries.

The report, A 10-year review of the characteristics and health outcomes of injury-related hospitalisations of children in Australia, also shows that for every severely injured child, at least another 13 children are hospitalised with minor or moderate injuries.

Commenting on the study, Professor Kate Curtis, report co-author and a professor of emergency and trauma nursing at Sydney University and a clinician academic in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Health District, told the Sydney Morning Herald "the results are so alarming. It is clear we need to do something.”

Professor Curtis is one of a group of 17 researchers and clinicians specialising in pediatric medicine and childhood trauma who have called on the Federal Government to urgently establish a new national injury prevention plan.

Professor Curtis added "it is quite astounding that injury to children is the largest cause of disability and death but we don't have a national prevention plan."

Funded by charity the Day of Difference, the study is part of the Paediatric Critical Injury Research Program (PCIRP), a 6-year initiative to gather robust evidence from across Australia on the causes and consequences of life-changing paediatric injuries.

As part of the program, it took four years for Professor Curtis and co-author Professor Rebecca Mitchell from Macquarie University to get approval to access the data from State and Federal governments collated in the injury report.

Professor Mitchell said the group was calling for routine injury surveillance to begin as soon as possible to inform and evaluate immediate prevention strategies. They also want a Federal agency to coordinate injury prevention strategies to identify and act locally where they saw injury hotspots occurring.

They group say that while such an agency would cost about $50 million a year, this spending would easily be recovered by safety improvements, citing that eliminating one traumatic brain injury a year would save $5 million.

The report also advises that the total hospital cost of injury hospitalisations of children during the 10 year period was $2.1 billion, at a mean cost per child of $3,119.

Among the reports findings was that falls from playground equipment - which account for about a third of all hospitalisation - led to over 55,000 children hospitalised over the 10 years between 2002 and 2012.

As a result, it advises that “while play is an important part of childhood and learning how to evaluate injury risk is considered a part of child development, routine playground safety audits should be conducted to identify worn equipment and that play equipment adheres to safety standards, including restricting the free-height of fall from play equipment, and that impact attenuated surfacing is used.

"These sorts of injury prevention measures, coupled with use of age appropriate play equipment and adult supervision are likely to go some way to reducing falls from play equipment."

The report also highlights that sporting activities were the most common specified activity performed at the time of the incident.

Click here for more information on A 10-year review of the characteristics and health outcomes of injury-related hospitalisations of children in Australia at www.paediatricinjuryoutcomes.org.au

15th April 2017 - TRAMPOLINES AND AFL THE LEADING CAUSE OF CHILDREN’S RECREATIONAL INJURIES IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA 

16th December 2016 - NEW STANDARD FOR PLAYGROUND SURFACING

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7th July 2016 - KIDSAFE QUEENSLAND HIGHLIGHTS SAFETY RISKS AT TRAMPOLINE ARENAS

25th May 2016 - SPORTS INJURY HOSPITALISATIONS HIGHER IN REGIONAL AUSTRALIA

15th November 2015 - RISKY OUTDOOR PLAY POSITIVELY IMPACTS CHILDREN’S HEALTH 

12th May 2015 - INFLATABLE OPERATORS AND MANUFACTURERS CALL FOR AUSTRALIA’S ADOPTION OF EUROPEAN SAFETY STANDARD

11th April 2014 - INTERNATIONALLY ALIGNED PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT STANDARD RELEASED

20th January 2014 - RESEARCH REVIEW SUGGESTS BENEFITS OUTWEIGH THE RISKS OF INJURY IN JUNIOR SPORT

8th May 2012 - INQUIRY LAUNCHED INTO FREAK HOCKEY DEATH

15th February 2012 - SCHOOL SPORTING INJURIES MASKED BY LACK OF DATA

12th July 2011 - SPORTS INJURIES KEEPING HOSPITAL BEDS WARM 

23rd February 2010 - RUGBY LEAGUE JUNIORS TO BE GRADED BY SIZE 


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However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

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