Political apathy ‘killing kids’

The Dominion Post 04 June 2009

Kiwi kids are dying in accidents and from abuse and Third World diseases due to political apathy, doctors and child welfare experts say. MPs were told yesterday by the Paediatric Society that New Zealand has the worst rates of death and injury from preventable causes in the developed world and much more is needed to reverse the trend. And in a report due out today, the children’s commissioner calls for extra funding to educate parents about the dangers of shaking babies, as it reveals why about 45 children under five are seriously injured and five killed each year at the hands of carers.

..The children’s commissioner’s report out today looks at common risk factors for death and injury from abuse in New Zealand and worldwide. It suggests very young babies are most at risk of abuse. “It only takes a small slap to the head or a short shake of a baby to do real harm,” commissioner John Angus said. He said there was a particular risk when babies were left in the care of young men who were not biological fathers who were often unprepared for the stresses of a crying baby and could have problems with anger or alcohol abuse. He urged the Government to fund the Shaken Baby Prevention Programme being looked at by Auckland DHB to be piloted in Auckland and rolled out nationally.