Washington: Previous researches have shown that many children worldwide die from different types of injuries. A new study has, however, indicated that if one factor contributing to unintentional injuries is controlled, the rise in child deaths can be prevented.
The findings of the study were presented at the meeting ‘2019 American Psychological Association Convention’.
“Many different factors contribute to unintentional injuries, so if we are able to stop just one of these risk factors, the injury could be prevented,” said David C. Schwebel, PhD, of the University of Alabama Birmingham.
According to the Global Burden of Disease project, more than 2 million children under the age of 19 worldwide died as a result of injuries in 2017.
While these numbers represent all injuries, the presentation focused on only unintentional injuries (i.e., accidents) instead of intentional injuries such as suicide, homicide and abuse.
Schwebel outlined a model to reduce accidental injuries in children. The model classified risk factors in three categories: environment-based, caregiver-based and child-based factors.
Schwebel said that preventing just one risk factor could stop an injury from occurring.
Environment-based factors can include many different aspects of the environment with which children interact. For example, children could choke on toys if they are not designed well or be harmed in a car accident.
Caregiver-based factors can involve anyone who is supervising a child, including parents, teachers, babysitters or even lifeguards. Schwebel said that preschool teachers can often be underpaid and fatigued from the intense work of supervising children all day and sometimes use outdoor playground time as a break for themselves, allowing children to run free, even though the majority of injuries at preschools occur on playgrounds.
“To solve this, we developed the Stamp in Safety Program where children wear a nametag, and teachers have stamps to reward the children on their nametags for engaging in safe behavior,” he said.
Child-based factors include motor skills, how children perceive their environment and how they interact with others. These skills vary greatly by age, so different approaches are needed when confronting risks.
For example, 7-year-olds struggle more with the cognitive demands of crossing the street than 14-year-olds. Interventions for child-based factors can include reinforcing common parenting practices.
So, if any of these factors is controlled or stopped, it might save many lives.