National / Social Issues

Record 1,744 accidents took place at Japanese child care facilities in 2019

Kyodo

A record-high 1,744 accidents were reported at preschools and other child care facilities last year and six were fatal, the Cabinet Office said Friday.

The 2019 figure is up 103 on year and the highest since the collection of statistics using the current method began in 2015.

The six fatal accidents fell three from the previous year, with half occurring at facilities that did not meet government standards for factors including number of nursery workers.

The data are likely to spark public concern about the safety and quality of care at child care facilities that do not meet government standards but have been subsidized as part of the government’s free preschool education and nursery program introduced in October.

Regarding the accident data, a Cabinet Office official said, “Our system, which requires facilities to report accidents to local governments, is taking root.”

The six fatalities involved three 1-year-olds, two 2-year-olds and a child younger than 12 months. Four died while sleeping, two of them in a prone position.

Cabinet Office guidelines urge preschools and child care facilities to ensure children sleep on their backs unless recommended otherwise by doctors.

Of the 1,738 nonfatal accidents, 1,401, or 80.6 percent, involved broken bones, with children losing consciousness in 11 cases.

The data for the Cabinet Office report were gathered from various governments and involved fatal accidents between January and December last year, as well as accidents involving injuries requiring 30 days or more of treatment.

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