Children and accidents are close relatives. It is normal for parents to visit the emergency room at least once during their young child's life. The proof is in the statistics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2006 study on childhood injuries found that 9.2 million children visit the emergency room each year with accidental injuries. The study found that the most common accidental causes of injury and death among preschool-aged children were drowning, falls, impact and bites. (See Reference 1.)
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The CDC found that the most common cause of accidental death among children ages 1 year to 4 years of age was drowning. At this age, the children are small enough to venture near a body of water, pool, bath, bucket, etc., but not strong enough to pull themselves up out of the water once immersed. In pools, the problem isn't strength as much as it is the knowledge of swimming. The CDC vigorously urges parents not to leave children unattended in the bath as well, despite what seems like the child's ability to hold himself above the water. This can be deceiving.
The CDC also found that over 2.8 million of the nonfatal accidental injuries taken to the emergency room were due to falls. Preschool children are small and can be injured by falls from distances that don't seem hazardous to adults. Falls lead to broken bones, bruises, concussions and sprains in preschool-aged children. The probability of these accidents in children up to age 4 is increased by the child's inexperienced motor skills combined with curiosity. According to a 2008 estimate of nonfatal injuries treated in emergency rooms, an estimated 878,612 children between ages 1 and 4 were admitted to the emergency room as a result of falling. (See Reference 2.)
Impact injuries occur from being struck by something or the child having impact with an object. Kids running into things and having disagreements amongst themselves are also causes of such accidents. In 2008, the CDC estimated that 371,404 children were admitted to the emergency room for impact injuries that were not car accident-related. (See Reference 2.)
Small children are especially vulnerable to animal bites, but many must receive emergency care because of insect bites as well. According to the CDC, an estimated 134,920 children ages 1 to 4 were taken to the emergency room for bite and/or sting injuries. Preschool children are notorious for their rough treatment of animals, which is unintentional. However, not all animals are receptive to such treatment. The result can be a bite that can be anywhere from minor to disfiguring. Insect bites and stings come from bees, wasps, spiders and mosquitoes and subsequently become infected.
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