Effective measures to prevent child injuries could help save 1000 lives a yearBMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d3401 (Published 31 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3401
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Advocating the prevention of child injuries in less-developed
economies is practical and cost-effective.1 This concept can be corroborated
by spinal cord injury (SCI) of children in Taiwan.
Pediatric SCI causes serious long-term consequences that are potentially
preventable. In Taiwan, a developed economy, a recent national
investigation of 8.7 million pediatric population over a decade
demonstrated that the incidence of SCI is significantly affected by age,
gender, and socio-economic status. In this cohort of nearly five thousand
pediatric SCI patients, 68% of these SCI were cervical and substantially
disabled. It is noteworthy that the risk of injury increased abruptly
after school age. Teenagers were 7.5-10.5 times more likely to have
SCI than pre-school toddlers. Once reached the age of 18 years, the risk
ratio became 18.8-28.6 times. Overall, male was 1.5-2.0 times more prone
to SCI than female. In particular children from households of
lower socio-economic status had higher SCI risks up to 3 times. There was
a correlation between economy and the risk of SCI in children.
The two most frequent causes of pediatric SCI are vehicle accidents and
sports related. The distinctively increased risk in male adolescents, who
tend to participate more in these activities rendering them at higher risk
of SCI, warrants strategic interventions. Enforcement of speed limit, seat
belt, protection helmet, safety equipment, and education are very
practical. Effective prevention of child injuries is the cornerstone to
ameliorate the potential cost caused by long term morbidities. This issue
is even more important in less-developed economies.2
1. Zarocostas J. Effective measures to prevent child injuries could help
save 1000 lives a year. BMJ 2011;342.
2. Wu JC, Chen YC, Liu L, Chen TJ, Huang WC, Cheng H, et al. Effects of
Age, Gender, and Socio-economic Status on the Incidence of Spinal Cord
Injury: An Assessment Using the Eleven-Year Comprehensive Nationwide
Database of Taiwan. J Neurotrauma 2011.
Competing interests: No competing interests