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America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2017

Child Injury and Mortality

Although injury death rates have declined over the past two decades, unintentional injuries remain the leading cause of death for children ages 1–4 and ages 5–14. In addition, nonfatal injuries continue to be important causes of child morbidity, disability, and reduced quality of life.93 In 2010, the total lifetime costs (medical expenses and productivity losses) of injuries among children ages 0–14 were estimated to be more than $80 billion.94 For every fatal injury among children ages 1–14, there are 29 injury-related hospitalizations and 1,669 injury-related emergency department (ED) visits.95 The leading causes of injury differ for children and adolescents (see PHY8.A).

Indicator PHY7.A: Emergency department visit rates for children ages 1–4 and 5–14 by leading causes of injury, 2012–2013
Indicator PHY7.A: Emergency department visit rates for children ages 1–4 and 5–14 by leading causes of injury, 2012–2013

‡ Reporting standards not met; estimates considered unreliable.

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

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

  • Among children ages 1–14, falls and being struck by or against an object or person are the two leading causes of injury-related emergency department (ED) visits.
  • In 2012–2013, there were 48 ED visits for falls per 1,000 children ages 1–4 and 24 visits for falls per 1,000 children ages 5–14. Falls accounted for more than one-third of injury-related ED visits for children ages 1–4 and more than one-quarter of initial injury-related ED visits for children ages 5–14.
  • The rates of injury-related ED visits resulting from being struck by or against an object or person were 17 visits per 1,000 for children ages 1–4 and 18 visits per 1,000 for children ages 5–14. Among children ages 1–4, injuries from being struck accounted for 13 percent of all injury ED visits in 2012–2013 and 20 percent of initial injury ED visits among children ages 5–14.
  • Injury-related ED visits for injuries caused by natural and environmental factors, including insect and animal bites, were 9 visits per 1,000 for children ages 1–4 and 7 visits per 1,000 for children ages 5–14.
  • Injury-related ED visits resulting from being cut or pierced, the fourth leading cause of injury visits, were 6 per 1,000 for children in each age group.
  • Injury-related ED visits for injuries caused by motor vehicle traffic crashes were the fifth leading cause of injury visits among children ages 1–14, at 4 visits per 1,000 for children ages 1–4 and 5 visits per 1,000 for children ages 5–14.

Indicator PHY7.B: Death rates among children ages 1–14 by all causes, all injury causes, and age group, 1980–2015
Indicator PHY7.B: Death rates among children ages 1–14 by all causes, all injury causes, and age group, 1980–2015

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

Indicator PHY7.C: Death rates among children ages 1–14 by cause of death and age group, 2015
Indicator PHY7.C: Death rates among children ages 1–14 by cause of death and age group, 2015

* Not a cause of death for children ages 1–4

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

  • Between 1980 and 2015, the all-cause mortality rate among children ages 1–4 declined by 39 points to 25 deaths per 100,000 children. During the same time frame, the injury-related death rate decreased by 18 points to 11 deaths per 100,000 children ages 1–4 in 2015.
  • The all-cause mortality rate among children ages 5–14 declined by 17 points, from 31 deaths per 100,000 children in 1980 to 13 deaths per 100,000 in 2015. Over the same time frame, the injury-related death rate decreased from 17 deaths per 100,000 children ages 5–14 in 1980 to 6 deaths per 100,000 in 2015.
  • In 2015, unintentional injuries (accidents) was the leading cause of death for children ages 1–4 (8 per 100,000 children) and 5–14 (4 per 100,000 children). Among children ages 1–4, birth defects, homicide, and cancer also were leading causes of death. Among children ages 5–14, cancer and suicide were the second and third leading causes of death in 2015.
  • Among both younger and older children, males have higher death rates than females. In 2015, males ages 1–4 had a death rate of 28 per 100,000 children compared with 22 deaths per 100,000 for females. Among children ages 5–14, males had a death rate of 15 deaths per 100,000 children compared with 11 per 100,000 per females.

table icon PHY7A HTML Table | PHY7B HTML Table

93 National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. (2004). Children's health, the nation's wealth: Assessing and improving child health. Committee on Evaluating Children's Health, Board on Children, Youth and Families, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

94 Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. (2015). Unpublished tabulations.

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