A nationwide program to make children more safety conscious was launched in 30 cities Monday.
"Accidental injury, a major threat to students' safety, needs to be brought to the public's attention," said Sun Yanhui, principal of Beijing Dengshikou Primary School.
Yu Kaiping, an 11-year-old student of the school, said he liked to catch insects and play with cats and dogs, but was very often bitten and taken to hospital.
"I feel I really need to learn more about safety so my parents can worry less about me," he said.
Many children have had similar experiences. Some have taken their mothers' weight-loss pills after mistaking them for cold remedies, while others have been trapped after taking dangerous shortcuts.
But accidental injuries that claim children's lives and their parents' happiness are the most tragic.
"Accidental injury tops the list of reasons for deaths among children aged between one and 14 years," said Ding Zongyi, a professor with Beijing municipal pediatrics research institute.
Over the past five years, 1.66 percent of Beijing Children Hospital's inpatients across all departments and 5.14 percent of its inpatients in the surgical department were child victims of accidental injury, according to Chen Yajun from the hospital.
The central committees of the Communist Youth League of China, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Public Security have jointly launched the new program to combat the problem.
All primary and high schools will hold lectures and contests this year to teach students how to protect themselves from traffic accidents, drowning, burns, poisoning, suffocation, falls and other dangers.
The program also analyzes the reasons for, types and consequences of accidental injuries to students.
(China Daily April 1, 2003)