Under UNICEF’s pilot project on injury prevention, selected schools have introduced injury-prevention and disaster-preparedness classes. Community-based initiatives include swimming lessons for children aged four to ten and village crèches for younger children. Community workers run courtyard meetings and make home-visits to raise awareness among parents about the importance of erecting fences around cooking fires and water hazards.
The pilot proves that child injury is preventable. Over three years, in the four pilot districts (including three in rural Bangladesh and one urban area):
Drowning deaths among children aged 1 to 4 reduced by 44 per cent.
Injuries among children aged 1 to 17 reduced by 32 per cent.
Hospitalization of children decreased by one third.
UNICEF is advocating for a national strategy on child injury prevention to curb rates of injury-related death, the biggest killer of children over the age of one. Material developed for the school pilot is being distributed to primary schools nationwide as a supplement to the standard primary education curriculum.