Chinese schools should help students to better protect themselves from various unexpected risks and mishaps that are claiming at least 40 young lives daily across the nation, a deputy to the National People's Congress said Sunday at the ongoing parliament session.
"More than 40 primary and middle school pupils die from road accidents, food poisoning, drowning or other accidents every day," said Zhu Haiyan, director of the Anhui Provincial Children's Art Troupe in east China's Anhui Province, citing a 2004 survey conducted by the ministries of education and public security in 10 localities including Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin.
The survey found that road accidents, for example, are killing more than 18,500 children under 14 years old in China each year. "This is 2.5 times the figure reported in Europe and 2.6 times the US figure," said Zhu.
Traffic accidents, of all the accidents in China, have become the second largest killer for Chinese children, next only to drowning, according to Martin Eichelberger, president and chief executive officer of Safe Kids Worldwide.
"It has become a pressing task for Chinese schools to teach their students some basics about risk avoidance, disaster prevention and first-aid," said Zhu. "In fact, 80 percent of the accidental deaths among kids can be avoided through preventive measures or timely rescue operations."
Meanwhile, Zhu said safety education will also enhance children's respect for life, love for others and high sense of responsibility. "It's also conducive to social harmony in China, the land of only child families," she added.
China initiated the Security Education Day for youngsters in 1996, setting it as the last Monday of every March.
In March 2004, the Ministry of Health and the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China launched a joint program to help school kids improve their self-protection capacities, which involved them in simulations of real scenarios like robbery and fire.
(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2005)