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What is the Biggest Killer of Today’s Children?

Jun 11th, 2009

childrenWell the answer to this questions is going to surprise many readers and health insurance companies alike, but according to the World Health Organization, WHO, forty people under twenty-five died every single hour…add that up…it is an truly outrageous number!  This is the second leading cause of death in children ages five to twenty-nine, and the absolute leading cause of death in children ages fifteen to nineteen.  What is it…Road Accidents!

WHO’s statistic show that ninety percent of fatal accidents, occur on the road, in low or mid-income countries where planning of roads doesn’t accommodate pedestrians and cyclists very well leaving all to share too crowded of a roadway and increasing the changes of a fatal road accident.

The fact is that when a road accident happens, no matter what income the country, the non-motorized driver always loses, which means most are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists with little protection.

Children are particularly vulnerable in this situation as they are too small to be seen and do not have the skills or knowledge to copy with the roadways fast moving, weaving, and dodging vehicles, especially if distracted playing.  Another disadvantage is that small children cannot see over most obstacles in their path, meaning vehicles and ornaments, therefore they are on the road before sensing the danger, and when they do, generally it is too late.

Now, when it comes to teenager and young drivers, the situation is reversed, but even more deadly.  Unlike little children, teenagers and young drivers have no problem seeing over objects and have the attention span and smarts to avoid the road obstacles altogether, that is, until they themselves get behind the wheel of a vehicle.  Once this occurs, a number of different factors come into play including higher risk behaviour (horsing around with friends), lack of seat belts or helmets, speeding, inexperience, drunk driving, to name just a few.

With these statistics, it is a wonder the health insurance companies are not working hand in hand with city and town’s road planning committees to find ways to improve road infrastructure and education programs, which in turn would provide a better knowledge and safer passage for our children having to use the roadways.  After all, less injuries and deaths reduces health insurance claims; therefore it seems to me, health insurers should be putting a foot forward to provide better pedestrian pathways.

Lead by example, and save children’s lives.

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