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Preventing morbidity and mortality from injuries to children and adolescents
  1. F P Rivara*
  1. Correspondence The Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

Abstract

Injuries account for nearly 1 million lives lost each year to children under the age of 18 years. In addition to deaths, millions of children each year sustain disability because of injuries. As disability adjusted life years lost from communicable diseases and perinatal causes are reduced, the global burden of injuries will increase. Prevention and control of injuries is an important component of child survival and improving child health globally, although less than 1% of the global health budget is spent on injury control. The armamentarium to address the problem of injuries is large, and solutions to child and adolescent injury control can be achieved though a combination of adaptation of these methods to the local environment and development of new, context specific interventions. The full spectrum of injury control must be employed, encompassing primary prevention, acute care of the injured patient, and rehabilitation to return the injured child as a functioning member of the community. Application of five readily available interventions could decrease child injury deaths by 30% and save 275 000 lives each year. If global child injury death rates in low and middle income countries were the same as in LMIC in South America, 439 000 lives would be saved annually, a decrease from current levels of 46%. Interdisciplinary collaboration within and across countries is critical in accomplishing these goals.

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