Background: Childhood injuries are a growing global concern, one that falls disproportionately on developing countries where public health systems are least prepared to address this problem.
Aim: This study assesses the impact of childhood injuries in the developing region of South Asia in order to set forth an agenda for improving child health in that region.
Methods: A systematic review was conducted for literature with quantitative data on unintentional injuries in children 0-4 years of age published between 1980 and 2007. The information was collated to estimate the mean, weighted mean and mortality rate for each type of injury. The rates were then applied to the 2000 UN projected population to estimate the number of childhood deaths due to unintentional injuries.
Results: Unintentional injuries are estimated to cause 389,000 annual child deaths in South Asia. This premature mortality results in the annual loss of 74 healthy life years (HeaLYs) per 1000 population.
Conclusion: The current burden of childhood injuries in South Asia is unacceptably high and calls for efforts from all sectors involved in research, policy and funding to not only assess the impact of childhood injuries but to strengthen the health systems to stem this preventable loss of healthy life.