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WHO and Injury Prevention

Here is some good content (and stark facts) from WHO on Injury prevention.

At Children for Health we believe that children themselves can do a lot to help protect themselves and each other from injury and accidents. It’s important that educators and parents spend time highlighting dangers and involve older children in raising awareness and passing on messages about how to keep themselves and others safe.

Children for Health has developed ten messages on this topic that you can find at the bottom of this post and we are actively fundraising to co-create a storybook for older children focused on this issue with children who would benefit.

Facts about child injuries

  • Approximately 830,000 children aged less than 18 years die every year as a result of an unintentional injury.
  • Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children aged more than 9 years.
  • Road traffic injuries and drowning account for nearly half of all unintentional child injuries.
  • Tens of millions of children require hospital care every year for non-fatal injuries.
  • Road traffic injuries and falls are the main causes of injury-related child disabilities.
  • 95% of child injuries occur in low and middle-income countries.
  • Child injuries remain a problem in high-income countries, accounting for 40% of all child deaths.
  • Many high-income countries have been able to reduce their child injury deaths by up to 50% over the past three decades by implementing multi sectoral, multi-pronged approaches to child injury prevention.

Proven interventions in child injury prevention1

Road safety

  • Introduce (and enforce) minimum drinking-age laws
  • Set (and enforce) lower blood alcohol concentration limits for novice drivers
  • Wear motorcycle and bicycle helmets
  • Set (and enforce) seat-belt, child-restraint and helmet laws
  • Reduce speed around schools, residential areas, play areas
  • Separate different types of road user
  • Introduce (and enforce) daytime running lights for motorcycles
  • Introduce graduated driver licensing systems

Drowning (see our fact sheet)

  • Remove (or cover) water hazards
  • Require four-sided fencing around swimming pools
  • Wear a personal flotation device
  • Ensure immediate resuscitation

Burns & Scalds (see our fact sheet)

  • Set (and enforce) laws on smoke alarms
  • Develop and implement a standard for child-resistant lighters
  • Set (and enforce) laws on hot tap water temperature, and educating the public
  • Treat patients at a dedicated burns centre


  • Redesign nursery furniture and other products
  • Establish playground standards for the depth of appropriate surface material, height of equipment and maintenance
  • Legislate for window guards
  • Implement multifaceted community programmes such as ‘Children can’t fly’


  • Remove the toxic agent
  • Legislate for child-resistant packaging of medicines and poisons
  • Package drugs in non-lethal quantities
  • Establish poison control centres

Challenges in child-injury prevention

  • Few countries have good descriptive data on the problem
  • Limited evaluation of what works in low and middle-income countries
  • Limited human capacity to address the issue
  • The perception that child injury is due to chance
  • Poor collaboration between agencies to address child injuries in a coherent manner
  • Lack of funding to support prevention efforts
  • Lack of political commitment and understanding

See our 10 Messages on Accidents & Preventing Injuries for Children to Learn & Share. We have these messages available in 22 languages too!