Iceland has a lower child mortality rate for children younger than five than any other country in Western Europe, according to a survey by the University of Washington in Seattle, recently published in the medical journal The Lancet.
Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Iceland is followed by Sweden and Cyprus, but the UK bottoms out among high-income countries with the highest child mortality rate, 5.3 per 1,000 live births, visir.is reports.
A total of 11.9 million children around the world died before reaching the age of five in 1990. That number has dropped by approximately four million in the past 20 years.
Herdís Storgaard, director of the accident prevention center Forvarnarhús in Iceland, told visir.is that Iceland’s achievement is largely thanks to a powerful initiative to prevent accidents, for example, in swimming pools.
However, many factors still need improving. While the safety precautions for young children in cars are usually maintained, the appropriate safety measures for children older than five are not followed as often, Storgaard said.
Also, parents are sometimes not conscious enough about the risk of accidents in the children’s surroundings, even careless about them playing outside.
Young children must always be observed while playing, Storgaard said. “Children can think of the most extraordinarily things in spite of knowing their surroundings well.”
Click here to read more about the mortality rate survey.