The Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee (CYMRC) and Safekids Aotearoa would both like to see greater uptake of child and youth injury prevention campaigns, safe sleeping education and child restraint programmes.
From 2002 to 2013, the number of children and young people who have died in New Zealand has fallen from 638 to 515. While this is a noteworthy achievement, the CYMRC believes that these numbers are still too high.
As a statutory committee of the Health Quality & Safety Commission, the CYMRC aims to prevent deaths of children and young people aged 28 days to 24 years, by supporting a network of local child and youth mortality review groups in each district health board (DHB) to collect local data and encourage local quality improvement initiatives for child and youth health.
In the CYMRC’s 10th National Data Report, there were 3042 deaths in children and young people aged 28 days to 24 years from 2009–13. Of those, the leading causes of death for children and young people were medical conditions (1183, 38.9 percent) and unintentional injury (877, 28.8 percent).
Of all unintentional injury deaths, transport was the most prominent cause across all age groups (65.2 percent), followed by drowning (10.5 percent) and poisoning (6.0 percent). Suffocation and strangulation in bed continued to be, overwhelmingly, the most common cause of injury death in infants under one.
The CYMRC is very pleased to see Safekids Aotearoa has created infographics of recent child injury statistics across New Zealand. These infographics have been designed so DHBs can work with injury prevention stakeholders across the country to deliver evidence-based interventions.
According to the Safekids Aotearoa infographics:
- close to 40,000 children in New Zealand were admitted to hospital due to preventable injuries over a five year period (2008–2012)
- the majority of these child hospital admissions (97 percent) were classified as unintentional injuries, including incidents from motor vehicle crashes, falls and drowning
- falls-related injury is the leading cause of hospital admissions, with boys being most at risk
- fractures and open wounds featured highly throughout each DHB area.
“Every week on average around 150 children in New Zealand are hospitalised with serious injuries from an unintentional injury, and a further 1 to 2 children are killed the same way”, says Ann Weaver, the Director of Safekids Aotearoa.
These deaths can be prevented by making injury prevention campaigns and programmes more prominent.