Architects and Developers Should Design and Build Child Friendly Buildings


By Shahfizal Musa
Pix Norashikin Yusof

KUALA LUMPUR, 3 July 2012 – Developers, architect and building engineers should make the safety of children as a priority when designing and putting up buildings.

The Head of Pediatric Burns, Women and Children Hospital Australia, Dr Anthony L. Sparnon said children can be inflicted with injuries with falls of less than one meter but the architects keep on designing houses with little gaps in between the stairs for kids to fall through.

Speaking at the “Child Safety, Child friendly” campaign at The National University of Malaysia Medical Centre (UKMMC) in Cheras here today, he said every day we see examples of children gettig hurt from falls in shopping complexes and in homes due to building designs that are not safe for children.

He said it was the responsibility of the health care giver to notify someone about the potential dangers to children due to building designs not condusive to children’s safety.

Architects and engineers don’t think about the potential dangers as they only design for the estatics, that is to have something that look nice without even thingking that a child can squeeze through landings or stairs bannisters and may fall to his death, Dr Sparnon said.

He said statistics showed that 15 percent of the falls of children are from a height more than one meter. That is not surprising considering the way play grounds are built.

Dr Sparnon said children love to climb five meters up in the air not realising their fatigue will sink in thereby compromising their coordination which can then lead to falls and being seriously injured.

He said such shortcomings needed to be highlighted because injuries from falls, drowning and electrocution occur in the homes which are supposed to be the safest place for children.

Statistics presented at the campaign showed that in Malaysia the second highest cause of death for children from the age one to four are due to injuries from falls.

The home turns out to be not the safest place for children. And statistics compiled from children admitted to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital showed 55 percent of head injuries occured in their homes.

President of the Child Friendly Healthcare Association of Malaysia, Prof Dato’ Dr Mahmud Mohd Nor, Prof Dr Zarina Abdul Latiff and Dr Dayang Anita from the Paediatric Surgery Unit of PPUKM attended the talk along with architects and developers.