Protecting children from unintentional injuries Attorney
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Attorney Ronald E. Johnson of Schachter & Hendy concentrates on legal issues surrounding children’s injuries.
Many children are injured each year by accidents. What can parents do to protect their children from accidental and unintentional injuries?
USA Safe Kids is an organization dedicated to helping children and their families. According to their website, the children at the highest risk of injury are younger children, males, minorities, and poor children. USA Safe Kids feel it’s important to educate parents about how they can protect their children and reduce this significant risk of injury.
According to USA Safe Kids, children from low income families are twice as likely to die in a traffic accident, four times more likely to drown, and five times more likely to die as a result of a fire.
There are more than 3.9 million children under age five living in poverty. Some of the factors that increase these young children’s risk of injury, according to USA Safe Kids:
- single-parent households
- lack of education
- young maternal age
- multiple siblings
- substandard and overcrowded housing
- lack of safe recreational facilities
- proximity of housing to busy streets
- inadequate childcare or supervision
- increased exposure to physical hazards
- limited access to health care
- less likely to use safety devices due to lack of money
Native American and Black children
Unfortunately, statistics show that death rates for children of low-income families are increasing, mostly from firearm and pedestrian injuries. The USA Safe Kids website also says that Black and Native American children have disproportionate death and injury rates due to:
- higher levels of poverty
- lower levels of education
- employment and income
- lack health insurance
- have difficulty obtaining appropriate and necessary medical care
- have lower incomes creating significant financial barriers to care
- receive care in hospital emergency rooms
- practice fewer safety behaviors
- less likely to receive lifesaving preventive services
According to USA Safe Kids, more than 40% of Native American children are poor, and have the highest unintentional injury death rate in the US. Their statistics also show that more than 30% of black children live in poverty and have the second highest unintentional child injury death rate in the US.
Rural and Urban Children
USA Safe Kids also says that children in rural areas have a greater risk of unintentional injuries and death, from drowning, traffic accidents, firearms, fires, and agricultural injuries. These children live in remote areas without access to medical facilities.
Children account for 20 percent of all injury-related farm fatalities and represent an even larger portion of nonfatal injuries, according to USA Safe Kids.
Statistics also show that young male children are at a greater risk of injury because of risk-taking and rougher play than females, said USA.
USA Safe Kids says children ages 4 and under are at greater risk from unintentional injury-related death and disability and account for 49 percent of these deaths among children ages 14 and under. Babies have higher rates of death, mostly from suffocation, falls and car accidents, said the USA website.
Preschoolers are more likely to die from drowning, residential fire and burn injury, poisoning, motor vehicle occupant injury, pedestrian injury and airway obstruction injury, according to USA.
For more information, go to: National SAFE KIDS Campaign (NSKC). Children at Risk Fact Sheet. Washington (DC): NSKC, 2004.