Hong Kong Med J 1998;4:400-4 | Number 4, December 1998
SEMINAR PAPERS--PREVENTIVE MEDICINE
Childhood injury prevention in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Childhood Injury Prevention Research Group
Injury is a major health problem in Hong Kong children. During the past two decades, injury and poisoning have surpassed infectious diseases as the leading cause of childhood mortality in Hong Kong. These two are also the leading cause of childhood disability. In 1995, injury and poisoning caused approximately 2% of the deaths among children aged 0 to 1 years, 26% of the deaths among children aged 1 to 4 years, and 36% of all deaths of children aged 4 to 14 years. Road traffic accidents, drowning and submersion, and accidental falls accounted for 30%, 20%, and 20%, respectively, of all deaths from unintentional injury in children younger than 15 years of age. Exact morbidity figures for injury and poisoning are not available but injuries are known to account for approximately 30% of paediatric attendances at the accident and emergency departments of regional hospitals, 20% of all hospitalisations among children, and 65% of surgical or orthopaedic admissions. It has been estimated that approximately 2.9% of children will be admitted to hospital for an injury at least once before their fourth birthday. Hong Kong is a small, highly urbanised, and densely populated place that has undergone tremendous socio-economic development in the past three decades. The pattern of injuries has changed and shows some special characteristics. Information on the extent of the problem, the type of injury, and contributing factors are scarce. Preventive measures are reactive in nature, piecemeal, and usually not subject to evaluation. It is recommended that childhood injury prevention be accorded a high priority, child safety be given prime consideration in all policies involving children, and more research be conducted.
Key words: Child; Wounds and injuries/epidemiology
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