WHO, UNICEF release first global report on unintentional child injuries

December 11, 2008

More than 2,000 children die every day as a result of an unintentional or accidental injury, according to the first report examining unintentional child injuries worldwide.

More than 2,000 children die every day as a result of an unintentional or accidental injury, according to the first report examining unintentional child injuries worldwide.

The World Report on Child Injury Prevention, released by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, also concludes that every year, tens of millions of children worldwide are taken to hospitals with injuries that often leave them with lifelong disabilities. If proven prevention measures were adopted across the globe, at least 1,000 children's lives could be saved daily, according to the report.

The research also found that road crashes are the number one reason for child mortality, followed by drowning, burns, falls, and poisoning. The report included the following data:

  • Road crashes claim the lives of 260,000 children a year and injure about 10 million. They are the leading cause of death among 10-19 year olds.


  • Drowning kills more than 175,000 children a year, while fire-related burns kill nearly 96,000 children a year. The death rate from fires is eleven times higher in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.


  • Nearly 47,000 children fall to their deaths every year, and hundreds of thousands more sustain less serious injuries from a fall.


  • More than 45,000 children die each year from unintended poisoning.

The report also describes the variety of prevention measures that can mitigate against these injury-specific child mortality rates. These measures include child-appropriate seatbelt and helmet laws; hot tap water temperature regulations; child-resistant closures on medicine bottles, lighters, and household product containers; separate traffic lanes for motorcycles or bicycles; draining unnecessary water from baths and buckets; redesigning nursery furniture, toys and playground equipment; and strengthening emergency medical care and rehabilitation services.