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Inj Prev. 2007 December; 13(6): 362.
PMCID: PMC2598317

One last kick at the can

Short abstract

The high number of deaths of children from injuries in many wealthy countries is a political embarrassment

In the past I have commented on what should be viewed by our political masters as a source of great embarrassment. I am referring to the appalling results reported by Unicef's Innocenti Research Center year after year for some countries. I do so again following the arrival of Report Card 7, Child poverty in perspective: an overview of child well‐being in rich countries.1 The sub‐title of the report is “A comprehensive assessment of the lives and well‐being of children and adolescents in the economically advanced nations.” Only included are data from OECD countries but that should be enough to make many of us sit up and take notice.

In particular, I call attention (not to you, dear reader, but to the most senior politician you voted for) to the chart that shows the ranking of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA with respect to deaths from “accidents and injuries per 100 000 under 19 years” (Figure 2.3). Canada ranks 13th, Australia is 17th, the US is 22nd, and New Zealand is 24th. Need I say more?

The time is long overdue for a concerted national effort in each of these countries, one led by well‐funded national centers. It is ironic perhaps that it was in the first volume of this journal that Berfenstam described the program responsible for Sweden's astonishing success.2 At that time the program had been in existence for 40 years. Now, a half a century later, these four countries, alongside others of equal wealth, have still not caught up. Nor will they until they take the injury problem as seriously as they do other more popular diseases.


1. Unicef Child poverty in perspective: an overview of child well‐being in rich countries. Innocenti Report Card 7. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre 2007
2. Berfenstam R. Sweden's pioneering child accident programme: 40 years later. Inj Prev 1995. 168–69.69 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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