The Federal government should establish a national injury prevention plan, say the authors of a new report putting the cost of treating 680,000 children hospitalised for injuries at $2.1 billion.
Injury is the leading cause of death among children aged 1 to 16 years in Australia. In the 10 years to 2012 there were 1,759 injury-related deaths among children in this age-group.
Funded by The Day of Difference Foundation, the report released today is the first national profile of childhood injury in Australia. Accompanied by nine recommendations to government, it provides extensive data and commentary on the causes, costs and incidence of hospitalisations and deaths arising from injuries among children aged 16 years and younger.
“Australia’s injury prevention plan expired three years ago and we urgently need to reduce the burden of suffering and deaths arising from childhood injuries,” said the report’s co-author, Professor Kate Curtis from the University of Sydney.
“Childhood injury rates have not reduced over the past 10 years and deaths have increased from 108 to 149 deaths per year. An injury can happen in the blink of an eye and can be life-changing. Even when their wounds have healed, injured kids often face ongoing issues such as chronic pain, physical limitations and psychological issues,” she said.
We urgently need to reduce the burden of suffering and deaths arising from childhood injuries.
In addition to calling for a national injury prevention plan, the report’s authors say Australia needs a routine injury surveillance system using real time access to hospital record data.
“We recommend routine injury surveillance commence as soon as possible, and in real time, so that injury prevention strategies can be informed, targeted and evaluated with timely, robust data,” said report co-author, Associate Professor Rebecca Mitchell of Macquarie University.
“There is presently no such capability and the logistics of linking national hospitalisation and mortality data to compile this new report were convoluted and took four years to obtain.”
The authors have also called for:
Children had a higher risk of dying from their injuries if they:
- lived in regional/remote Australia
- were aged ≤10 years
- were more severely injured
- were injured in a transport incident
- sustained a head injury