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Traffic Accidents No.2 Killer of Children
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About 35,000 children aged 14 and below are injured or killed in road accidents each year in China, making it the second leading cause of death for that age group, according to a recent survey.

The survey was released yesterday by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) at a seminar on childhood road safety. The seminar was sponsored by FedEx and co-hosted by the National Center of Chronic and Noncommunicable Disease Control and Prevention, China CDC, and Safe Kids China (SKC) as part of the UN's "Global Road Safety Week."

The survey, which took three years, is the first comprehensive look at children involved in traffic accidents in China.

The study showed that almost half of the 3,763 children injured in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou from 2000 to 2004 were aged between five and nine. More than 90 percent of the accidents were caused by careless road crossing or violation of traffic rules.

In addition, it found that children were most often injured or killed in bad weather conditions on their way to and from school.

"The results of the study indicate that most road accidents involving children are preventable," said Wu Fan of the China CDC. "This relates to a series of factors, which require constant and intensive cooperation between different organizations."

Eddy Chan, senior vice president of FedEx China, said China still has a long way to go in raising awareness of this issue.

"It is important to improve education in child pedestrian safety," he said.

Safety measures have intensified in recent years. China's road safety for children has improved partly due to FedEx and SKC's involvement, said Monica Cui, director of SKC.

A number of studies on traffic accidents in China, including studies conducted in Jiangxi and Zhejiang, were presented during the seminar. Representatives endorsed recent improvements on pedestrian safety and called for more government and social intervention.

According to official statistics, there were 80,000 traffic fatalities in China last year.

(China Daily April 28, 2007)

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