Go to contents

Korea tops list in accidental deaths of children

Posted February. 06, 2001 15:46,   


Korea ranked first in the ratio of children killed in various accidents, including traffic mishaps, among 26 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Dangerous driving was the foremost cause.

This was one of the findings of a survey conducted by the United Nations International Children¡¯s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on the number of children aged 14 and under who were killed in traffic accidents and from other injuries from 1991 until 1995 in OECD member countries. Out of the 29 OECD members, Iceland, Luxemburg and Turkey were excluded from the survey.

According to the survey results, 25.6 out of 100,000 Korean children were killed in various accidents during the period, five times as many as the 5.2 children in Sweden. Next on the list were Mexico with 19.8 children, Portugal with 17.8, the United States with 14.1 and New Zealand with 13.7. Both Britain and Italy reported 6.1 accidental child deaths per 100,000.

By cause of death, traffic accidents topped the list with 41 percent, followed by drowning with 15 percent, violence with 14 percent, fire with 7 percent and falls with 4 percent. Two percent were found to have died of addiction and 1 percent in shooting accidents.

UNICEF officials said that a wealthy country does not necessarily have a low rate of child deaths from accidents. But if Koreans strictly observed traffic safety regulations, the nation could save some 12,000 young lives each year, the officials said.

Greece and Portugal have similar levels of gross domestic product (GDP), but the ratio of accidental deaths of children in Portugal was much higher than that in Greece with 17.8 per 100,000 in Portugal and 7.6 in Greece. UNICEF attributed the disparity to the fact that there are a lot of reckless drivers in Portugal, saying the same was true of Korea.