Progress in techniques, mechanization in the home and the impact of machines on our daily life, increasingly provide new dangers to be faced by the 'unprotected' in society, in particular children who have little experience and few means of self-defence against such perils.
In developed countries, accidents represent the greatest risk of death for children, the commonest reason for hospital attendance, and a potent source of short- and long-term morbidity in childhood. Accidents or unintentional injury are the cause of 30% of total childhood mortality in the European Union (EU); ranking of the Member States by age-specific injury mortality rates indicates wide variation. The most frequent causes of death due to injury are transport accidents, drowning, fire and flames, and falls. Patterns of injury can be identified that reflect children's ages, the environments in which they live and the activities in which they are engaged. Injuries are strongly concentrated among those who are already socially most deprived.
Between 1986 and 1989, 15 UK children were killed and 149 seriously injured on building sites where they played unsupervised.
Each year about 1,300 South Australian children require hospital treatment because of injuries caused by a fall from playground equipment, which is almost the same as the number of children hospitalized as a result of car accidents. Although playground accidents do not cause as many deaths as road accidents, they are responsible for just as many non-fatal cases. Of those injured in playgrounds, 19% sustained a head injury and 5% sustained a brain injury.
In the USA, approximately 20% of all accidental injuries to children are the result of sports. Injuries on the playground account for about 137,000 emergency room visits a year. Nearly half of all injury-related childhood deaths occur between May and August, with July being the most deadly month. Each summer, that 3 million children are rushed to emergency rooms for serious injuries and 2,250 children will lose their lives. Most common accidents are drownings, falls, overexposure to sun, heat exhaustion and dehydration, venomous animals and plants, burns from barbeques and critical infectious diseases.