Injuries resulting from drowning, suffocation and road accidents are among the main killers of Asian children, according to research by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Details of the survey, which was conducted jointly with the Alliance for Safe Children over the past seven years, were released on Tuesday.
The survey highlights that the risk of death from injuries rises after infancy as children become more independent and as the danger from infectious and non-communicable diseases drops.
"If we are ultimately going to meet the Millennium Development Goal to reduce child mortality, it is imperative that we take action to address the causes of childhood injury," said Anupama Rao Singh, Regional Director of UNICEF East Asia and Pacific, urging bolstered investment in public awareness campaigns and arming children and their parents with knowledge and skills.
The study was carried out in over half a million households, comprising more than 2 million people in five countries: Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The causes of death and disability among a representative sample of all children up to 18 years of age were reliably recorded for the first time ever in these nations.
The research uncovered that the causes of injuries differ by age group. Infants under 12 months are not so exposed to injury, while toddlers between one and four years of age are at the greatest risk of drowning. Schoolchildren aged five to nine years, who spend a lot of time outside their homes, are at the greatest danger from drowning and road traffic accidents.
Meanwhile, the survey alarmingly concluded that the leading cause of death among adolescents is intentional injury, or homicide and suicide. Researchers pointed out that due to the difficulty and sensitivity of the subject, the problem is under reported.
(Xinhua/Agencies March 12, 2008)