Are 5,000 kids a day injured in serious accidents?

I received my 2009-10 White Pages this week, and on the back there is an ad from the Kids Foundation, a charity aimed at reducing preventable injury to children. The ad says:

On an average day 5,000 kids are injured in serious accidents.

This sounded like a lot, so I went to the Foundation’s website looking for a source. None is to be found, though they offer another statistic saying that this results in 100 hospitalisations.

At the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare website I found statistics on hospitalisations but not all injuries. This suggests the hospitalisations figure is conservative – I calculate for 2004-05 an average of 158 hospital admissions a day for 0-14 year olds for injuries or poisonings (though this includes deliberate as well as accidental injuries and poisonings).

But even with this higher number, how serious could the injuries be if only 3% require hospital treatment?

The ABS reports all injuries whether requiring hospital treatment or not, with a quarter of 0-14 year olds reporting an injury in the previous 4 weeks. That’s around a million a month, which would certainly get us to 5,000 a day. On the other hand, a lot of these injuries are minor such as cuts, falls below one metre, and stings – things that are painful at the time but usually do no lasting or major harm. They are a normal part of growing up, not ‘serious accidents’.

The Kids Foundation sounds like a worthy cause, and certainly the super-protective parenting since I was growing up is paying off in greatly reduced death rates for kids. But when I read shock! horror! numbers with no source I get the feeling I am being subject to spin, and become less inclined to support the organisation involved.

If someone can point me to the source of this number, I will of course happily acknowledge it and remove the ‘factoid’ category from the post.

10 thoughts on “Are 5,000 kids a day injured in serious accidents?

  1. Does the super protective parenting just defer the risk taking. So Yobs can kill themselves – one way or another – later on when mummy is not about?
    I would have thought there were a lot more opportunities for children to be killed nowadays compared with the 50s – Mass cars , paddle pools, tablets of all kinds etc.

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  2. John – I have not seen figures from the 1950s – I doubt they exist apart from deaths – but certainly since the 1980s there have been big improvements – car safety is massively better, bike helmets make a big difference, pools are more likely to have fences, etc. And of course on the deaths statistics, medical care has improved so fatalities are less likely when accidents do occur.

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  3. It’s not all wine and roses though, Andrew. The declining mortality rate for morons has coincided with a rise in the influence of newstainment television programs like A Current Affair and Today Tonight on national affairs.

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  4. andrew – hospitalisation doesn’t always = serious or more importantly – serious doesn’t = hospitalisation.

    broken arm no admission.

    try telling a parent its not serious

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  5. serious treatment doesn’t = hospitalisation

    Your Life may be saved by an ambo or a lefty citizen or a Sen Fielding voter by first aid and you might not end up admitted.

    Health stats are a trap for young players. Sometimes worserer for old players.

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  6. Oh Andrew – I didn’t mention. I’d be inclined to call bullshit on those figures too.

    I could check them – but I have no interest in doing so – pity – If I had a work experience boy or girl I’d get ’em to do it.

    No one likes to mention that one of the highest cohorts of murder /manslaughter/etc is kids killed by parents or de-factos.

    We won’t go into sexual abuse by parents/de-factos/relatives etc will we.

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  7. Assault accounted for 9% of child deaths (128 children) between 1999 and 2003. Young children were more likely to have died from assault than older children. Two thirds (65%) of child deaths from assault were of children aged less than 5 years (83 children). More boys than girls died from assault between 1999 and 2003 (70 compared with 58)

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