Editorials

Preventing injuries in childhood

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6940.1312 (Published 21 May 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1312
  1. R Smith,
  2. I B Pless

    What is the leading cause of death among children and adolescents? Not AIDS, not cancer or diabetes, not cystic fibrosis or heart disease, and certainly not meningitis. For most countries in the developed world, and increasingly in the developing world as well, about one half of all deaths after the first year of life are due to injuries - unintentional and intentional. In Britain in 1990 injuries caused a quarter of deaths in those aged 1-4, more than a third in those aged 5-14, and three of every five deaths in those aged 15-19. Many people - professional and lay - are astonished by these figures.

    Despite the frequency, and often serious medical and psychological consequences, of injuries, scientific reports about them are not often found in medical journals. Instead, reports are scattered in numerous other publications, many of them non-medical. While this is understandable given the varied disciplines that make important contributions to …

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