The perils of play: How kids are most likely to be hurt

THE thought of your child suffering a life-threatening accident is the stuff of parents' nightmares.

It's the reason why you occasionally catch a mum wincing when dad throws their bub a little too high for comfort.

But what do the numbers tell us? 

For one thing, it turns out that kids get hurt an awful lot. The Australian Bureau of Statistics released a comprehensive look at how children are injured and killed in 2006.

While the information is unfortunately a little dated, it does give us a look at what risks our kids face when they're out exploring the world.



In 2001, 18% of children - so almost one in every five - had an injury in the month before they were interviewed.

That falls slightly once they hit 15 and falls to 6% once they turn 65.

Boys are more likely to be hurt than girl. Again in 2001, 19% of boys had recently been injured versus 16% of girls.

In a single 12-month period between 2002 and 2003, there were 42,600 examples of boys ending up in hospital.

In the same period, it was 25,400 for girls.

Once boys are between 10 and 14, the numbers go up again. Whereas girls are most likely to be injured when they're under four.

That means that when a boy is aged 10-14, he is twice as likely to end up in hospital than a girl the same age.

Here's a graph:



Of the 498,000 children who reported being injured recently, most were hurt playing "non-organised sport or games" (playing) or sports.

51% were injured while playing, 27% injured while playing sports and 17% injured while at school.

Your child is most likely to be injured near their own or someone else's home (32%), at school (30%) or at a sporting ground (20%).

Only 16% were injured while inside their own, or someone else's home.



The most common cause of injuries for kids aged 14 and under are falls, hitting something, being bitten by something and being attacked by another person, although that final one is miniscule.

61% of recent injuries in kids were caused by falls, with most of those (93%) involving a height of 1m or less.
Once you go above 1m, the number falls to 7%.

And most of these - whatever the height - were involved in sport or playing at the time (75%).

Second most common are "collisions", or running into or being hit by something.

Of the 17% of kids who are hurt in these collisions, boys were more likely to be injured (20% for boys or 13% for girls in 2001).

Most of these occur while playing or while involved with sport.

One in eight children (12%) are injured by animal bites or insect stings. Half of them (51%) were bitten or stung while outside either their own or someone else's home.

In 2001, about 25,000 children had been injured in an attack by another person in the weeks prior to being interviewed. That works out to be 4% or one in 25.

Children were more likely to have been injured in an attack by another person - which includes other kids - when compared to teenagers over 15 and adults.

Of the 5-14 year olds who were injured by an attack, 72% were at school at the time. Boys were three times more likely than girls to be have physically injured in an attack like this.

See below to check out how your child is most likely to be injured.



In relation to child deaths, the most common cause for children under 1 relates to issues arising from pregnancy or birth, or inherited health conditions. 

These make up the majority of child deaths in Australia, as of 2003, representing 68% of them.

After infancy, "injury deaths" are the most common cause of child fatalities.

Almost half of all children who died from injuries between 1999 and 2003 were involved in some kind of "transport accident".

That is, they were in a car involved in a crash, was riding a bike, or were struck by a car.

These have fallen sharply since 1983.

Accidental drowning caused 19% of all child injury deaths in the same period, with children under five the most vulnerable.

Assault counted for 9% of deaths caused by injuries, with most of those being children aged under five.

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