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Children playing in a pool Photo by Yaron Kaminsky
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The number of accidents culminating in the death of children has increased substantially this summer. Data released Wednesday  by Beterem, the National Center for Children's Safety and Health, indicate an 80% rise in the number of children who have died in accidents this summer, compared to the season last year.

Since the start of June there have been 45 cases involving children who have died in accidents, compared to 25 such catastrophic incidents in the equivalent period of 2009.

Analysis of the data indicates that about half the children who died this summer in accidents were victims of road collisions. About 20% of the deadly accidents were drownings, and 12% of the accidents involved choking. There were also a few incidents in which the deaths were caused by fire, airplane accident, falling trees and negligent gunfire.

The victims fell into three age groups, with a third involving teenagers aged 14 to 17, another third ranging from 5 to 13, and the final third involving small children.

This summer has also seen a change in the causes of child fatalities. Last summer, the number of drowning deaths was higher than deaths caused in road accidents (with the figures standing at 43% and 35%, respectively ). Last summer, 7% of deadly incidents stemmed from children falling; 4% of the incidents involved choking; and 11% of child deaths were caused by other kinds of accidents.

"Two weeks are left before the start of the school year, and this is a very delicate period as recreational activities have been exhausted," Beterem CEO Orly Silbinger said yesterday. "Children are bored and look for creative ways to amuse themselves. Sometimes these activities end in the loss of life. This is a time when parents should be especially alert, in order to secure their children's safety."

Beterem workers emphasize that a responsible, older person should remain in charge of children under the age of 6 (criminal law, they explain, requires such attention be paid to children 6 or younger ). Officials from the group also recommend that special attention be paid to children up to 9 years old.

In situations where children younger than 5 are playing in water, they should not only be in view, but also within arm's reach. While riding in vehicles, children should be in car seats adjusted according to their age and weight, say the Beterem workers, who emphasize that children must not be left alone in vehicles.