GENEVA — The United Nations urged governments around the world to require bicycle helmets, swimming-pool fencing and other measures to stop preventable accidents that kill hundreds of thousands of children each year.
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Dr. Etienne Krug of the World Health Organization said 830,000 children die each year of injuries from accidents. One thousand deaths a day could be relatively easily prevented through safety rules including obligatory lifejackets, smoke alarms, window guards and child-resistant packaging of medicines, according to the World Report on Child Injury Prevention produced by WHO and the U.N. Children's Fund.
The report said accidents are the biggest cause of death in children over 9. Road accidents and drowning cause nearly half the deaths, followed by burns, falls and poisoning. Tens of thousands of children who survive accidents need hospital care every year, and many suffer injuries that leave them handicapped or traumatized for the rest of their lives.
Dr. Margie Peden, the report's main editor, Sweden, Canada and Australia for reducing child deaths from accidents by up to 50 percent through better prevention techniques, some as simple as limiting hot-water taps to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) so as to prevent burns.
The report said most of the deaths are in developing countries, with African nations the worst-affected. A child in Africa is nearly four times more likely to die in an accident than a child in Europe, said the report, which used 2004 figures because they were the latest available on a global scale.
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