Re: Finland leads 31 European countries in tackling child injuries with Greece last
20 June 2012
For native Finns it was most delightful to read that Finland leads 31 European countries in tackling child injuries, although Finland did not have the lowest rate of deaths from injury among children and adolescents in 2010.
Soon, however, Finland may lead this statistic, too, since the incidence of fatal childhood injuries has declined dramatically in this country after World War II. In 0 to 14-year-old children, the incidence of injury death was 40 per 100 000 children in 1950, 30 in 1960, and 27 in 1970. And, our fresh epidemiological study (1)(figure)shows that the deline has continued till 2010. In 1971, Finland, a country with a white Caucasian population of 5.3 million, had 109 fatal injuries in girls and 207 in boys, while in 2010, these numbers had reduced to 10 and 16! The corresponding incidence rates were 20.1 and 2.3 for girls, and 36.7 and 3.5 for boys (1).
The reasons for the welcome decline are multifactorial, but improved traffic safety, increased safety awareness of parents and improved trauma care are probably the most imoprtant single factors behind the positive development. Scoring high in the fresh European Child Safety Report Card 2012 is likely to mean that Finland has adopted well the recommended safety measures.
One of our injury prevention campaigns has the name "Injuries Zero". This may sound overoptimistic, but it is of interest that in 2010 the number of intentional deaths among our girls aged 0 to 14 years was 0, the ultimate goal of injury prevention.
1 Parkkari J, Mattila V, Kivistö J, Niemi
S, Palvanen M, Kannus P. Fatal childhood
in juries in Finland in 1971-2010. Injury
Prev, in press, 2012.
Figure: Number and incidence (per 100 000) of fatal injuries among Finnish (A) girls and (B) boys aged 0 to 14 years in 1971-2010.
Competing interests: None declared
UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Kaupinpuistonkatu 1, FIN-33500 Tampere, Finland
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