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July 11, 2011

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Holiday danger for children

SEVERAL children have been killed and hundreds injured in accidents in the first few days of the summer holidays, focusing attention of child safety.

Shanghai Children's Hospital has received about 200 children injured in accidents over the past week - a 500 percent increase on the previous weeks.

A similar increase was reported in the Shanghai Children's Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Fudan University.

Among accidents recorded, four children fell from high rises; two youngsters drowned playing in a pond; a three-year-old boy fell and scissors pierced his forehead, nearly blinding him; and A two-year-old chocked to death on a peanut.

The summer break is a peak period for accidents among children and young people.

Between 36 and 49 percent of accidental student deaths occurred in the third quarter during the past three years, according to education authorities.

Falling from tall buildings, drowning and traffic accidents are also the major cause or death and injuries among children, doctors said.

"Many of the deaths and injuries are caused by a lack of supervision," said Yang Xiong, a Shanghai Academy of Social Science researcher specializing in youth research.

In many Western countries, children aged under 12 cannot legally be left at home alone. However, China has no such law, Yang said.

Children from the families of migrant workers account for most of the casualties as many live in rural areas and are unsupervised while their parents are at work.

These areas have many rivers, ponds and busy roads where trucks thunder by, all posing risks to children, Yang said.

In the recent drowning incident, the two children in Changbei Village were playing in a pond at a construction site.

While local children have grandparents or neighbors to look after them while their parents are at work, migrant parents have no such support, Yang said.

Families from some other parts are reluctant or unable to send their children to swimming pools or summer school due to cost.

Yang advised neighborhood committees and charities to launch summer camps for children, especially those from migrant families.


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