Children's Health & Safety Association

Issue 43: July 2018

Monday, 31 December 2012 19:55

2012 Child and Youth Injury Report

Written by 

November 28, 2012 – Preventable injuries remain the leading cause of death and disability among children worldwide according to the Canadian Paediatric Society.

By 2020, analytical and statistical data project that 8.4 million deaths caused by injury will occur annually compared to 5 million in 1990, making injury the greatest single cause of loss of life – especially among children and young adults. According to the World Health Organization's 2008 World Report, 950,000 children aged 17 and under were killed by an injury and 87% of these were due to unintentional and preventable causes.

Canadian Injury Statistics

Recent analysis of child passengers that sustained severe Motor Vehicle Collision (MVC) related injuries reveals that 92% of infants, 74% of toddlers, and 96% of school-aged children were not restrained properly at the time of the crash. It is estimated that 44 to 81% of car seats are not installed correctly and that nearly 75% of Canadian children four to nine years of age were not restrained properly.

childinjury2Car seats that are installed properly reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants and 54% for children aged 1 to 4 years. Booster seats provide 59% more protection for young children than seat belts alone.

Motor Vehicle Accidents are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in Canada. An estimated 68 children aged 14 years and younger are killed and another 880 seriously injured each year and the leading causal factors for serious and fatal collisions are driving speed, impaired driving and lack of occupant restraint.

Provinces and territories do not have a harmonized practice and mandate in regards to car and booster seats, which compounds the problem of misuse and at the same time, it is important to note that some provinces and territories lack coordination, financial support and resources to integrate these practices and establish mandates.

childinjury3Helmet usage and injury prevention for cycling is another area that is inconsistently mandated across Canada. Traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of severe injury to children on bicycles, and account for 29% of all cycling related hospitalizations. A child's skull can be shattered with an impact of only 7 to 10 km/h and children typically cycle at an average speed of 11 to 26 km/h. Head injury rates among children and youth cyclists are about 25% lower in jurisdictions with helmet regulations and therefore would be prudent and propitious for all provinces and territories to have harmonized legislation for helmet usage.

The Canadian Paediatric Society has published evidence-informed position statements on other injury prevention policies such as mandating playground standards, enforcing helmet use for skiing and snowboarding, and restricting children and youth from operating ATV's and snowmobiles. Again, a harmonized practice for all provinces and territories would prove beneficial on many levels.

The three leading causes of injury-related children and youth deaths are:

  • Motor vehicle collisions at 17%,
  • Drowning at 15%
  • Threats to breathing at 11%
The three leading causes of injury-related children and youth deaths are:  

• Motor vehicle collisions  at 17%
• Drowning at 15%
•Threats to breathing at 11% 

Falling is the leading cause of children being hospitalized at 37%.

Notable Injury Statistical Data:

  • Falling is the leading cause of children being hospitalized at 37%.
  • Approximately 390 children aged 14 and younger died annually from unintentional injuries & another 25,500 were hospitalized between 1994 and 2003. These statistics dropped by 37% and the hospitalization rate by 34% from the previous years.
  • The reduction of motor vehicle occupant death and hospitalization rates in children aged 14 and younger declined by 46% due to better engineering, car seat legislation and enforcement.
  • It is estimated that in 2004 injuries to Canadians cost $19.8 billion in health care costs and lost productivity of which $16 billion resulted from unintentional causes and $3 billion is accounted for by falls and transport related injuries to children and youth from birth to 19 years of age.
  • Social media marketing is credited for increased public awareness for seatbelt and car seat usage, which saved thousands of lives.


Injuries Sustained on Farms

childinjury4An average of 12 children under the age of 10 are killed annually and 110 are hospitalized due to injuries sustained on farms and boys are 3 to 4 times more likely than girls to sustain a serious injury.

Children and youth use off road all terrain vehicles (ATVs) for work, transportation, and recreation in rural and remote areas, and they learn to use farm equipment at a very young age.

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization suggested that if high-income countries were to implement programs using proven-effective interventions that considered the special vulnerabilities of children, more than a thousand children's lives would be saved each and every day.

92% of infants,  74% of toddlers, and 96% of school-aged children were not restrained properly at the time of the crash according to the recent analysis of child passengers that sustained severe Motor Vehicle Collision related injuries.

"Effective injury prevention and control require a comprehensive and integrated surveillance system that can effectively monitor injuries and collect essential data on the circumstances of the injury including: mechanisms, causes, risk factors, treatment modalities and outcomes." – excerpt from 'Child and Young Injury Prevention: A Public Health Approach'.

Statistical data collected in Canada is fragmented and therefore, does not represent a true picture of the injuries that children sustain. The information comes from varied sources such as the health care industry, police, fire fighters, and coroner's office wherein the inability to link databases coupled with the presence of gaps in key data elements prevents the development of effective strategies to combat injury. Canada requires more statistical and analytic evidence to determine burden and need, causes and risk factors, as well as the effectiveness and best possible delivery of specific interventions.

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends health professionals and all levels of government work together to reduce the burden of child and youth injury in Canada by implementing effective strategies and comprehensive research.


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