Children in Danger

children

Childhood curiosity leads quickly to accidents. Photo: Fotolia – Africa Studio

Children in Germany and most other western nations have – viewed statistically – remarkably safe lives. This is partly due to the standards and regulations in place, as well as the good access to medical care. Childhood curiosity, inexperience and inattentiveness do, however, continue to cause accidents. The consequences range from minor to grave. For parents, it isn’t the statistics that matter, it is the wellbeing of their own children. Depending on their age bracket, the major risks change too.

Source: Federal Association: "Mehr Sicherheit für Kinder e.v." / Illustration: Benjamin Hartmann Source: German Federal Statistical Office (survey 2016) / Illustration: Benjamin Hartmann Source: Federal Association: "Mehr Sicherheit für Kinder e.v." / Illustration: Benjamin Hartmann Source: German Federal Statistical Office (survey 2016) / Illustration: Benjamin Hartmann Source: Federal Association: "Mehr Sicherheit für Kinder e.v." / Illustration: Benjamin Hartmann Source: German Federal Statistical Office (survey 2016) / Illustration: Benjamin Hartmann Source: Federal Association: "Mehr Sicherheit für Kinder e.v." / Illustration: Benjamin Hartmann Source: IHME Global Burden of Disease (GBD), 2017 / Illustration: Benjamin Hartmann Source: WHO/UNICEF, 2018 / Illustration: Benjamin Hartmann Source: Federal Association: "Mehr Sicherheit für Kinder e.v." / Illustration: Benjamin Hartmann Source: Federal Association: "Mehr Sicherheit für Kinder e.v." / Illustration: Benjamin Hartmann

3 Questions for Tim Gill

The book author pleads for a self-aware and fearless childhood. The native Englishman is a long-time advocate of child-friendly urban design. In 2017, he received a Traveling Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and studied how cities including Calgary, Freiburg, Oslo, Rotterdam and Vancouver account for children’s needs. Gill has advised political parties and think tanks across the political spectrum and is also listed as co-author of a study to create livable neighborhoods for London children.

DEKRA solutions: In your opinion, what are the biggest health problems or hazards for big-city kids?

Gill: Vehicles are to blame for huge health concerns for all city residents, but primarily for children. Around the globe, road traffic is the leading cause of death for 10 to 19-year-olds. A lack of activity and childhood obesity is increasing in many cities, and not just in countries with higher incomes. While the causes are complex, sitting and car-reliant lifestyles are certainly a factor.

How can we make cities more livable for children?

Tim Gill, Scientist and Author of ‘No Fear’. Photo: Tim Gill

Tim Gill, Scientist and Author of ‘No Fear’. Photo: Tim Gill

Children don’t live in cities; they live in neighborhoods. Of utmost importance is making the neighborhood as a whole more child-friendly. Many adults think that playgrounds are the key. Indeed, children need and want space to play and meet up with friends. But this does not have to take the form of a playground. It may be a square, a street or a green area.

In your opinion, what are the most important aspects of more child-friendly cities?

Firstly, the neighborhood level. These should be constructed compact enough so that nothing is too far from the rest of the neighborhood, but also not so dense that there isn’t enough public space. Between the various places and facilities such as schools and businesses, pathways and cycle routes – uninterrupted by main traffic arteries – should be created.

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