7.4.1. Safety of children and adolescents
Children and adolescents have been chosen as a priority
because injuries and their disabling consequences have a tremendous impact on
health in this age group:
The share of fatal injuries is higher in very young ages
(Figure 7.18). Injury is the leading cause of death for children, adolescents
and young adults between 1 to 24 years of age. The annual death toll for this
age group is estimated as 26000 cases in the EU27. For every death that occurs
due to injury another 50 children and youths are admitted to hospital with a
traumatic injury. Another 800 cases are treated at the accident and emergency
departments. This means that estimated 21 million children and youths are
being treated in medical centres for traumatic injuries each year (Working
Group of Governmental Experts on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, 2008).
Figure 7.18. Injury death in % of all
deaths per age group, EU27
Deaths of children and teenagers are in particular tragic
losses, both for the families and the ageing EU societies. Motor vehicle
accidents, drowning and accidents caused by fire and flames are the top three
causes of injury deaths in children (Figure 7.19.A).
Figure 7.19.a. Fatal injuries by cause
of death, 1-4 years of age
According to these figures, actions should tackle severe
injury hazards for preschool children at home (falls, scalds, suffocation,
poisoning, drowning), playground safety and safety of child products, the usage
of car restrain systems and bicycle helmets amongst older children.
The “European Child Safety Alliance” (www.childsafetyeurope.org) is
propelling for national action plans on child safety (MacKay & Vincenten,
2007); it has also issued a “Good practice guide” (MacKay et al, 2006), and is
providing materials for European campaigns as against drowning or domestic
Link to the project:
Safety of adolescents
Regarding adolescents and young adults: ,over 62 million
young people aged 15–24 live in the EU representing 15% of the total population.
Every year more than 20 000 people in this age group die due to injuries (Kumpala & Paavola 2008);
this figure represents 65% of all young people’s deaths (Table 7.2. Leading cause of death per age group, EU27).
Traffic accidents and suicides are the most common causes for injury deaths
Figure 7.19.b. Fatal injuries by causes
of death, 15-24 years of age
The AdRisk – Project is dealing with the injury risk of
young people and has prepared a European situation analysis regarding injuries
and risk taking, a good practice guide, a strategy, and framework for action,
and tools for campaigning (www.adrisk.eu.com).
Special focus is on high risk groups prone to taking excessive risks. Thus,
policy development and implementation tools are currently being produced and
tested in pilot countries. Ultimately, the project will support the
implementation of country programmes and activities that should contribute to
reducing the high toll of injuries among adolescents in EU Member States and
candidate countries (Working Party of Governmental Experts on Accidents and
Injury Prevention, 2007).
Link to the project: