The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCWMCH) annually treats approximately 7500 children for injuries such as burns, falls and transport-related injuries. For every child death as a result of injury, hundreds more are hospitalized, thousands of emergency department visits and unknown numbers of clinic and doctors’ visits. Many children survive their injuries with temporary or permanent, life changing disabilities.
Head injuries are far more common than we think, with children often experiencing the consequences long after the injury occurred. There is little focus on these injuries despite injury being the number one killer of young children in our communities in South Africa. The majority of these injuries are preventable.
During 2019, approximately 6568 children were treated at the RCWMCH Trauma Unit, on average 18 children per day. 771 children were treated for traffic related injuries. Pedestrian injuries accounted for 72% of all traffic injuries. 71% of these pedestrians were aged between 5 and 12 years, and 39% under 4 years.