Three children die of injuries each day

Three children die each day in Germany from accidents, violence and suicide, according to new figures released Monday which show that the dangers increase as adulthood approaches.

Three children die of injuries each day
Photo: DPA

Of children aged between one and four who died in 2009, 22.5 percent died of injuries, while that percentage rose to 58.8 percent for those between 15 and 19 years old.

That year, 1,076 children and adolescents died of injuries – 341 under the age of 15, and 735 between 15 and 19 years old.

The 2009 data released by the Federal Statistics Office, Destasis, were the latest to be processed. They show that while infants are at high risk for fatal injuries due to domestic accidents and violence, adolescents are at the highest risk of dying from traffic accidents and suicide.

The number of teenagers who died of injuries has declined since 2000, with absolute numbers for those aged between 15 and 19 dropping from 1,452 in 2000 to 735 in 2009. The share of deaths in this age group due to injuries also dropped, from 69.6 percent to 58.8 percent.

Suicide among teenagers has also declined, from a high of 314 cases nationwide in 2002, to 194 in 2009 – the lowest figure since 2000.

Of all the age groups, infants and toddlers have the highest risk of head injuries, burns, scalding and poisoning, the report showed, while boys over the age of one are at higher risk than girls for fatal injuries as well as injuries requiring hospital admission. Boys are even more at risk than girls the older they become due to the increase in traffic accidents among teenage boys.

“Two out of three of the infants concerned burned themselves because they grabbed hot liquids such as tea or coffee,” said Gabriele Ellsäßer, a doctor who works for the Brandenburg state health authority and wrote the report. “Many parents cannot imagine how badly a child can injure themselves with hot tea.”

She said particular risk was posed by irons and cookers as well as kettles which can tip over children or be pulled over by them. Deaths among babies due to such accidents had remained at a high rate, in contrast to other causes of death which had declined, she noted.

Babies are also at risk of dying at the hands of others – Ellsäßer said about a third of babies who died between 2000 and 2009 were victims of violence.

A few of the statistics related to the nationality of the children concerned. These showed that babies under one year old were nearly twice as likely to die of injuries of any kind if they were born to migrant children than if they were from German families, the statistics showed.

Teenagers of both genders were more than twice as likely to die in traffic accidents if they were from German families, than if they were from a migrant background, the report said.

The Local/hc

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