Preventable Injuries are the Leading Cause of Childhood Deaths in Canada

Toronto personal injury lawyers encounter seriously injured accident victims every day, and the most challenging of these meetings are the ones that involve children. Even in a profession where life-changing injuries are a fact of life, a catastrophic injury to a child is heartbreaking, especially because the effects are also felt by the child’s parents, siblings, and extended family. Parents of seriously injured children must confront a new financial reality in addition to weathering devastating mental and emotional consequences. Caring for a child with a traumatic injury is a lifelong commitment requiring significant financial and personal investment.

At Will Davidson LLP, our goal is to reduce these newfound pressures in any way that we can. Not only do we aim to secure fair and reasonable financial compensation for the damages you and your family have experienced, we also aim to shoulder as much of the legal and financial burden as possible as your claim proceeds through the legal system.

The Heavy Toll of Childhood Injuries

According to a new report from Children First Canada titled “Raising Canada: Election 2019,” preventable injuries are the leading cause of death among Canadian children aged 0 to 19. The report was released to raise awareness of children’s issues ahead of last week’s federal election – the nonprofit organization feared voters would not consider children’s needs when filling out their ballot.

“We’re ranked 25th out of 41 wealthy nations for children’s wellbeing,” Children First Canada founder Sara Austin told HuffPost in September. “We are far from being a world-leading country for kids. And I think most Canadians will be shocked to hear that.”

The report identified suicide, abuse, obesity, food insecurity, lack of immunization, discrimination, and bullying as other leading causes of death among Canada’s children and youth.

“We’re not doing enough to raise public awareness about what the threats are facing the health and safety of our children,” Austin added. “But we’re also not putting in place adequate regulations.”

Common Types of Childhood Injuries

Just like adults, Canadian children face daily injury risks. Every time a child or youth walks to school, heads to the playground during recess, participates in a sport, or drives to meet up with friends on the weekend, they are at risk of being involved in an accident.

Motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of non-natural deaths among Canadian adults in 2017, according to Statistics Canada data released this year, a trend that is also true among children and youths. Children First Canada reports that 17 per cent of injury-related childhood deaths involve motor vehicle accidents, followed by drownings at 15 per cent and threats to breathing at 11 per cent.

Preventable injuries also account for a large number of childhood hospitalizations. More than 17,000 children were hospitalized for injuries in 2013-14, per the report, with 37 per cent caused by falls and around 700 coming from serious bicycle injuries.

Preventing Childhood Injuries

There are several ways to reduce childhood injuries in Canada. For Children First, the most effective path is federal-level advocacy. The organization’s report includes several calls to action for the Canadian government, including the following:

  • Appoint a federal Commission for Children to ‘serve as an independent office of government with a mandate to raise the profile of children in Canada.’
  • Implement a ‘pad-Canadian strategy for children’ to ‘urgently tackle the top 10 threats to children’s health and wellbeing,’ including preventable injuries.
  • Publish a ‘Children’s Budget’ to ensure ‘full transparency on the federal expenditures on Canada’s children.’

On a more grassroots level, parents can take precautionary actions to ensure the safety of their children. These measures may include:

  • Ensuring young children are correctly strapped into car seats
  • Ensuring children and youth of all ages wear their seatbelts
  • Driving safely, both to avoid crashes and to set a positive example for driving-age children
  • Ensuring children are properly equipped when riding their bicycle
  • Monitoring children on bicycles until they are capable of riding alone
  • Monitoring young children outside and around the house to prevent falls
  • Ensuring children have proper safety equipment during sports
  • Ensuring children follow proper codes of conduct during sports

What to Do When an Injury Occurs

No amount of supervision and safety equipment can guarantee your child’s safety – some accidents are simply unavoidable. If, despite your best efforts, your child has suffered a serious personal injury, contact Will Davidson LLP today to learn how our experienced team of Toronto personal injury lawyers can help.

For more than 70 years, Will Davidson LLP has helped seriously injured accident victims and their families access fair and reasonable compensation. During this time, we have come to understand exactly how devasting a life-changing accident can be.  Contact us today to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team.

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