CDC Childhood Injury Report

Note: This report was published in 2008 and is included for historical purposes only.

Unintentional injuries—such as those caused by burns, drowning, falls, poisoning and road traffic—are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children in the United States. Each year, among those 0 to 19 years of age, more than 12,000 people die from unintentional injuries and more than 9.2 million are treated in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries.

The CDC Childhood Injury Report: Patterns of Unintentional Injuries among 0–19 Year Olds in the United States, 2000 – 2006 uses data from the National Vital Statistics Systems and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–All Injury Program to provide an overview of unintentional injuries related to drowning, falls, fires or burns, poisoning, suffocation, and transportation–related injuries among others, during the period 2000 to 2006. Results are presented by age group and sex, as well as the geographic distribution of injury death rates by state.

Key findings from the report include the following:

Injury Deaths

  • On average, 12,175 children 0 to 19 years of age died each year in the United States from an unintentional injury.
  • Males had higher injury death rates than females.
    • The death rate for males was almost two times the rate for females, and males had a higher injury death rate compared to females in all childhood age groups.
  • Injuries due to transportation were the leading cause of death for children.
    • The highest death rates were among occupants of motor vehicles in traffic.
    • There were also a substantial number of pedestrian and pedal cyclist deaths among children.
  • Combining all unintentional injury deaths among those between 0 and 19 years, motor vehicle traffic–related deaths were the leading cause.
  • The leading causes of injury death differed by age group.
    • For children less than 1 year of age, two–thirds of injury deaths were due to suffocation.
    • Drowning was the leading cause injury death for those 1 to 4 years of age.
    • For children 5 to 19 years of age, the most injury deaths were due to being an occupant in a motor vehicle traffic crash.
  • Risk for injury death varied by race.
    • Injury death rates were highest for American Indian and Alaska Natives and were lowest for Asian or Pacific Islanders.
    • Overall death rates for whites and African–Americans were approximately the same.
  • Injury death rates varied by state depending upon the cause of death.
    • Overall, states with the lowest injury death rates were in the northeast. Fire and burn death rates were highest in some of the southern states.
    • Death rates from transportation–related injuries were highest in some southern states and some states of the upper plains, while lowest rates occurred in states in the northeast region.
  • For injury causes with an overall low burden, death rates greatly varied by age.
    • The poisoning death rate for those older than 15 years of age was at least five times the rates of the younger age groups, and the suffocation death rate for infants was over 16 times the rates for all older age groups.

Nonfatal Injuries

  • An estimated 9.2 million children annually had an initial emergency department visit for an unintentional injury.
  • Males generally had higher nonfatal injury rates than females.
    • For children 1 to 19 years of age, nonfatal injury rates were higher among males than females, while the rates were approximately the same for those under 1 year.
  • Injuries due to falls were the leading cause of nonfatal injury.
    • Each year, approximately 2.8 million children had an initial emergency department visit for injuries from a fall.
    • For children less than 1 year of age, falls accounted for over 50% of nonfatal injuries.
  • The majority of nonfatal injuries are from five causes.
    • Falls was the leading cause of nonfatal injury for all age groups less than 15.
    • For children ages 0 to 9, the next two leading causes were being stuck by or against an object and animal bites or insect stings.
    • For children 10 to 14 years of age, the next leading causes were being struck by or against an object and overexertion.
    • For children 15 to 19 years of age, the three leading causes of nonfatal injuries were being struck by or against an object, falls, and motor vehicle occupant injuries.
  • Nonfatal injury rates varied by age group.
    • Nonfatal suffocation rates were highest for those less than 1 year of age.
    • Rates for fires or burns, and drowning were highest for children 4 years and younger.
    • Children 1 to 4 years of age had the highest rates of nonfatal falls and poisoning.
    • Injury rates related to motor vehicles was highest in children 15 to 19 years of age.
Page last reviewed: February 6, 2019, 02:45 PM