Today WHO and UNICEF release the first World report on child injury prevention. The report, developed with the support of nearly 200 injury prevention experts from around the world, is intended to draw attention to child unintentional injuries, a significant but long neglected public health and development concern.

Injuries – from road traffic crashes, drowning, falls, burns, poisoning and other causes – kill around 830 000 children every year. They are the leading cause of death for children after the age of nine years. Every year tens of millions of children worldwide are taken to hospitals with injuries that may leave them with lifelong disabilities.

Around 95% of child injuries occur in low- and middle-income countries. Children in poorer communities in all countries are at increased risk of injury as they are more likely to be exposed to hazardous environments and are less likely to benefit from prevention programmes. In addition they often lack access to good quality trauma care and rehabilitation services.

The World report on child injury prevention provides the first comprehensive global assessment of childhood unintentional injuries and prescribes measures for how they can be prevented. These measures include laws on child-appropriate seatbelts and helmets; hot tap water temperature regulations; child-resistant closures on medicine bottles, lighters and household product containers; separate traffic lanes for motorcycles or bicycles; draining unnecessary water from baths and buckets; redesigning nursery furniture, toys and playground equipment; and strengthening emergency medical care and rehabilitation services.

The report calls for inclusion of injury prevention in child health programmes and concludes that at least 1000 children’s lives could be saved every day if proven prevention measures were adopted everywhere.

World report on child injury prevention