Preventing injuries to children

Protecting children from accidents
Reducing injury rates for young people
Reducing external causes of child deaths

Taking steps to raise public awareness of the magnitude of the problem of injuries to children and developing policy interventions to reduce the incidence of injuries in children.


Injuries, poisonings and violence (known collectively as external causes) are the leading cause of death in the European Region among children under 15 years, accounting for one third of deaths in this age group. In 1996, average mortality from external causes among children aged 1-14 years was 4.5 times greater in the newly independent states than in the European Union, while in central and eastern Europe it was 2.4 times higher. If mortality rates were reduced to the average of the European Union, nearly 32 000 deaths (31% of all deaths at this age) in the age group 1-19 years would be prevented each year.

Hazards inside the home: sharp corners on furniture and cabinets; sharp implements like knives; accessibility to children of areas where hot drinks and foods are placed; access by children to cupboards that contain chemicals, detergents, bleaches, sprays, poisons and medicines and tablets; large areas of water, such as full baths and buckets; power outlets mounted at a low height where partially removed plugs expose live pins; fires. Hazards outside of the home: pools and spas; garden tools, pesticides and soil additives; broken or sharp fences; barbecues; unsafe play equipment.


For child safety in motor vehicles, beginning at birth all children should be placed in a rear-facing car safety seat, until they are at least one year of age and at least 9 kg. Once the child has reached both of these points, it is ready to be turned around in a forward-facing car safety seat. At around the age of 5, when the child outgrows that forward-facing safety seat, s/he should be transferred to a belt-positioning booster seat. This simply rests on the existing auto seat, better positioning the child for the car's lap and shoulder belts. The child should stay in that seat until s/he properly fits in the car's seat belt. This will depend on the child's height, weight, and the size of vehicle, but it could be as late as 10 years of age.

Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions