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Migrant Children More at Risk
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The Shanghai Children's Medical Center (SCMC) said almost all the accidentally injured children treated in recent years came from migrant families.

The hospital wants action taken to help protect these children from accidents.

Medical experts from the SCMC, one of the three local children's hospitals, gave special consultations and education courses to more than 100 parents over the past month who wanted to learn how to help prevent home accidents.

The hospital had been holding the monthly education course to help parents understand the cause and prevention of accidents in the home.

However most of the parents turned out to be locals and not migrant parents for whom the courses were also designed.

"Our investigations into home accidents where children were killed or injured in recent years showed almost all of them were from migrant families, living in suburban areas in the city," said Xia Lin, an official of the hospital.

"They rent cheap apartments downtown. Often the children are looked after by grandparents who have little understanding of the dangers. Many of the accidents happened when the adults were only away for a couple of minutes," she said.

On Friday afternoon a four-year-old child fell to her death from the balcony of her 8th floor home. She was pronounced dead from serious internal injuries at the hospital at 4:15 PM, said Xia. She said the girl's grandfather had left her to dump garbage only to find the girl lying on the ground on his way back to the building.

"We summarized our recent cases and found that falling from heights and burning were the main causes of accidents responsible for deaths and injuries of children between two and six years old," Xia said.

The hospital's two-year study found that 40 percent of children's accidents happened at home. Nearly 250,000 children were injured or killed in accidents every year in Shanghai, according to local authorities.

Xia said the SCMC had been trying over recent years to help migrant families improve their awareness of safety at home but more needed to be done.

"We have teams visiting migrant families in suburban areas several times a year but it's kind of difficult to get them, especially the older people, to pay proper attention to the seriousness of the issue," she said.

(Shanghai Daily September 3, 2007)

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