Let’s focus on keeping our kids safe

Let’s focus on keeping our kids safe

Over 6500 children die each year in South Africa as a result of injury. Many of these deaths could have been prevented, just like many of the accidents that leave children scarred or disabled.

The SA statistics are frightening:

  • Over 570 children die in pedestrian accidents.
  • Over 250 die because they were not buckled in.
  • Nearly 230 die of burns.

Nearly 2300 children die worldwide each day in accidents of some sort, says the World Health Organization. And with proper injury prevention strategies in place, over 1000 of them could have been saved.

And, when children under the age of eight are injured in accidents, it is often a lack of supervision by adults, as children of that age do not understand the dangers, according to Professor Sebastian van As, President of Childsafe, and Head of the Trauma Unit at Cape Town’s Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

Children in poorer communities are at a higher risk, says the WHO, as they live in more hazardous environments, where there could be open fires, unprotected windows and stairs, unsafe roofs, or in close proximity to fast-moving traffic. There are often few safe playing areas in poor communities.

It was partly with these dangers in mind that the Ajuga ECD campus initiative was originally launched by the Cipla Foundation in 2010. It entailed the design of fire-resistant structures consisting of classrooms and play areas.

In order to increase the level of safety of children in their care, Childsafe encourages adults and caregivers to be mindful of the following precautions:

  • Small, or sharp objects, such as coins and pins and buttons must be kept away from small children.
  • Open fires are dangerous to children; keep matches and lighters out of reach.
  • Children under five should be buckled up in car seats – all passengers should be buckled up. Children should never stand up in cars.
  • Children under 6 should not cross roads by themselves and should be accompanied by an older child or adult.
  • Kettle cords should be kept out of reach to prevent burns.
  • Never let children swim unsupervised.

The following further tips come from the WHO:

  • Keep medicines in child-safe containers, and poisons out of reach.
  • Modify star railings so children do not get stuck in the gaps.
  • Insist on fencing around swimming pools.

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