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6,000 pre-school kids hurt each year: report

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6,000 pre-school kids hurt each year: report
08:42 CET+01:00
Over 19,000 children attending pre-schools in Sweden 2008-2010 were injured so badly that they required emergency care, according to National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) figures.

The figures have been compiled by TV4 investigative reporting programme Kalla Fakta and Swedish authorities have described them as "alarming".

The most common cause of injury is falls, but there are also a large number of crushing and cutting injuries.

Furthermore the number of accidents reported at Swedish pre-schools would appear to be increasing.

In 2009 5,900 accidents occurred, which required treatment at a hospital emergency department. Since then, the numbers have increased steadily.

Figures from the National Agency for Education (Skolverket) show that groups are expanding within daycare providers, with 18 percent consisting of 21 or more children.

This can be compared with 2003 when the figure was 15 percent.

Staffing levels have at the same time declined. In 2006 there was an average of 5.1 children per pre-school staff member, compared to 5.4 in autumn 2010.

"Of course, group sizes and staffing levels have an impact on the safety of children in pre-school. The staff have a huge responsibility for children within the operation," said Ingegerd Johansson at the National Agency for Education.

According to Johansson's colleague Carina Hall, the trend towards increasingly large groups of pre-school children is "alarming" because group sizes and make up are a defining characteristic of quality.

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