New CDC Study: About 1 in 5 Deaths is Due to Injury
The injury death rate among children dropped nearly 30 percent over the last decade. However, injury is still the #1 cause of death among children. Common causes of deaths from child injuries include motor vehicle crashes, suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires and burns, and falls.
Though rates for most causes of child injuries have been declining, suffocation rates are on the rise, driven by a 54 percent increase in reported cases among infants less than one year old. Poisoning death rates also went up, largely due to a 91 percent increase in deaths among teens aged 15-19 that were mainly caused by prescription drug overdoses.
How can parents and caregivers help prevent children from being fatally injured?
Most injuries are preventable. CDC has prevention tips for six leading causes of injury, as well as resources for parents and caregivers to help them protect the children they love.
Prevention tips include the following:
- Make sure infants sleep alone; placed on their backs on a firm surface.
- Don’t put loose bedding or soft toys in crib. (Learn more about safe sleeping at Baby Sleep Myths.)
- Be sure crib meets safety standards. (Learn more at www.cpsc.gov)
- Keep medicines away from children and teens.
- Keep cleaning solutions/other toxic products in original packaging away from children.
Motor Vehicle Crashes
- Always use seat belts, and appropriately sized child safety and booster seats. (Learn more at www.nhtsa.gov)
- Use safe-driving agreements or contracts with teens.
- Learn to swim—important for parents and kids.
- Use a four-sided fence with self-closing and self-latching gates around pool.
- Watch kids closely when they swim.
- Use smoke alarms—where people sleep & on every level of the home—test monthly.
- Create and practice a family fire escape plan.
- Install a home fire sprinkler system, if possible.
- Use a soft landing surface on playgrounds (such as sand or wood chips, not dirt or grass).
- Use protective gear, like a helmet, during sports and recreation.
- Install protective rails on bunk beds and loft beds.
To find information about the “Protect the Ones You Love” initiative, visit http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/.
*For this study, deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome were not included. The reported increase in infant suffocation may be, in part, due to improved death scene investigations of what might previously have been coded as a SIDS death. We don’t believe that this explains all of the increase. In 2009 we lost almost 1,000 infants to suffocation which is entirely preventable with measures that are possible today.