ChildStats.gov—Forum on Child and Family Statistics
faces of children
Home  |  About the Forum  |  Publications  |  Data Sources  |  Help
Search

America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2013

Adolescent Injury and Mortality

Injury accounts for nearly 75 percent of adolescent deaths. Compared with younger children, adolescents ages 15–19 have much higher death rates overall and from injuries. Adolescents are much more likely to die from injuries sustained from motor vehicle traffic crashes and firearms than are younger children.87 The leading causes of nonfatal injury resulting in an emergency department visit also differ from those in younger children. For example, the leading cause of adolescent nonfatal injury emergency department visits is being struck by or against an object or person, whereas for younger children, the leading cause of nonfatal injury emergency department visits is falls (see PHY7A). In addition, emergency department visits for nonfatal injuries for adolescents more often result from violence, sports-related activities, or motor vehicle traffic crashes. For each fatal injury among adolescents, there are 11 injury-related hospitalizations and nearly 375 injury-related emergency department visits.84

Indicator Phy8.A: Emergency department visit rates for adolescents ages 15–19 by leading causes of injury, 2009–2010
Emergency department visit rates for adolescents ages 15–19 by leading causes of injury, 2009–2010

NOTE: Visits are the initial visit to the emergency department for the injury. "Struck" denotes being struck by or against an object or person, "cut or pierced" denotes injuries caused by cutting or piercing from instruments or objects, "overexertion" denotes excessive physical exercise or strenuous movements in recreational or other activities, and "natural or environmental" denotes injuries caused by natural or environmental factors such as insect or animal bites.

SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.

  • In 2009–2010, the leading causes of injury-related emergency department visits among adolescents ages 15–19 were being struck by or against an object or person (31 visits per 1,000), motor vehicle traffic crashes (22 visits per 1,000), and falls (20 visits per 1,000), altogether accounting for more than half of the injury-related emergency department visits for this age group.
  • Injury-related emergency department visits for adolescents being struck by or against an object or person were most often the result of a sports-related activity (30 percent) or an assault (29 percent).85
  • Injuries caused by cutting or piercing from instruments or objects, overexertion from excessive physical exercise or strenuous movements in recreational or other activities, poisonings, and natural or environmental factors were also among the leading causes of injury-related emergency department visits among adolescents ages 15–19, ranging from 5 to 10 visits per 1,000 adolescents.
  • Emergency department visit rates for poisonings among adolescents ages 15–19 (5 visits per 1,000) were similar to rates among children ages 1–4 (5 visits per 1,000) and higher than rates among children ages 5–14 (1.5 visits per 1,000). Approximately 28 percent of the emergency department visits for poisonings among adolescents result from intentional self-harm, 50 percent are unintentional, and 22 percent are of undetermined intent.
  • For adolescents ages 15–19, about 3 percent of injury-related emergency department visits resulted in hospitalizations.85

Indicator Phy8.B: Death rates among adolescents ages 15–19 by all causes and all injury causes and selected mechanisms of injury, 1980–2011
Death rates among adolescents ages 15–19 by all causes and all injury causes and selected mechanisms of injury, 1980–2011

NOTE: 2011 data are preliminary. Caution should be taken in interpreting injury death rates based on preliminary data, as these tend to be underestimated. 2011 data for "All motor vehicle traffic injuries" was not available at time of publication. See Deaths: Preliminary data for 2011, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_06.pdf.

SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System.

  • The death rate for adolescents ages 15–19 was 48.9 per 100,000 in 2011 and 49.4 per 100,000 in 2010, down from 51.9 per 100,000 in 2009.
  • Almost three-fourths of adolescent deaths were from injuries. In 2011, the injury death rate was 36 per 100,000, which was not statistically different from the injury death rate of 37 per 100,000 in 2010. The injury death rate has decreased by more than half since 1980, despite a period of increase in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
  • In 2010, more than 60 percent of injury deaths among adolescents were related to either motor vehicle traffic (13 per 100,000) or firearms (11 per 100,000). Since 1980, the motor vehicle traffic death rate has decreased by nearly 70 percent. From 1980 to 1987, the firearm death rate was relatively steady: from 19S to 1994 the rate increased, and since 1994 the rate declined by more than 60 percent.
  • Injury deaths can also be reported by intent. In 2011, unintentional injury accounted for more than 50 percent of all injury deaths (20 per 100,000) among adolescents.
  • In 2011, homicides accounted for 21 percent of injury deaths, and suicide accounted for 22 percent of injury deaths. In 2010, some 85 percent of the homicides and 40 percent of the suicides were firearm related.

table icon PHY8A HTML TablePHY8B HTML Table

84 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2010). National Hospital Discharge Survey, unpublished tabulations.

85 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2009–2010). National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, unpublished tabulations.

87 Bergen, G., Chen, L.H., Warner, M., and Fingerhut, L.A. (2008) Injury in the United States: 2007 Chartbook. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.