The modern world is filled with hazards for children, such as shopping carts, lawn mowers, and escalators, according to three new studies. Researchers at the Columbus Children's Hospital report that 20,000 children per year are injured from falling out of shopping carts. Researchers at Ohio State University College of Medicine report that an average of 9,400 persons 20 years old and younger receive treatment in a U.S. hospital emergency department annually for injuries from lawn mowers. And a new study in the journal Pediatrics found that approximately 2,000 children are treated in United States hospital emergency rooms annually for escalator-related injuries.
It is true that most deaths of children over the age of 1 in the United States are due to accidents. However, the good news is that the world is much safer for American kids than it used to be. Childtrends reports: "Between 1980 and 2003, death rates dropped by 46 percent for infants, 51 percent for children ages 1 to 4, 44 percent for children ages 5 to 14, and 32 percent for teens ages 15 to 19."
I suppose we can always make the world a bit safer (at some additional cost) for little Johnny and Jennie, but for me the takeaway from the cited studies is not that we need more regulations and lawsuits to protect kids. Instead, I hope that parents will hear: Don't do stupid things such as leaving your kids sitting unattended in shopping carts, allowing them to run lawn mowers unsupervised, or letting them run wild in shopping malls.