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Efforts to prevent childhood injuries progressing in California

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accidental injuries are the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 20. Across the country, almost 10,000 children die from accidents every year. An additional 9 million kids are admitted to emergency departments to receive treatment for injuries.

Hospitalization rates for injuries are generally highest among those age 16 to 20. Motor vehicle accidents account for much of this trend, considering that older teens are able to drive legally, but are less experienced behind the wheel as other drivers on the road. However, California has had higher rates of hospitalization among younger children in recent years; in 2010, for example, the hospitalization rate for injuries among babies under one surpassed that of the rate for teens between the 16 and 20.

Behind motor vehicle accidents, drowning, burns and suffocation are the leading causes of fatal injuries for children and teens.

In California, initiatives have been under way over the past few years to improve safety and to reduce accidents that cause childhood injury. The CDC recommends three strategies for fighting childhood injury: environmental/engineering solutions, education and legislative initiatives.

An example of an engineering solution to childhood injuries is making more dedicated bike paths to keep children from riding their bikes in traffic. Government initiatives would be mandating child safety seats, or requiring children to wear bike helmets. Educational efforts, of course, involve teaching children how to be safe.

All three approaches have been put to work in California, and childhood injuries have been reduced in recent years. However, many children are still getting hurt – if your child is one of them, you may have a legal claim.

Source: Lompoc Record, Minimizing childhood injuries, Steve McDowell, June 27, 2013

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