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Injuries Are Not an Acceptable Risk of Growing Up

Categories: Home & Recreational Safety

I don’t like to use the word “accident.” Accident implies that what happens is unpreventable and the resulting injuries are inevitable. That’s a false assumption when it comes to our children.

CDC science shows that most unintentional childhood injuries can be prevented. Injuries do not have to be an accepted risk of growing up.

On December 10, we released the CDC Childhood Injury Report, which outlines patterns of unintentional injuries among children in the United States. This report was released in conjunction with the launch of the World Health Organization and UNICEF’s World Report on Child Injury Prevention. These reports provide the important research needed to examine the public health issue of preventing childhood injuries.

Our data show that in the United States alone, about 33 children die every day because of preventable childhood injuries. On average, two children die every day as a result of being poisoned. Another two children die from being burned. Three children a day die as a result of drowning. Transportation-related injuries account for the majority of the 26 other children who die from injuries each day; falls and other injuries account for the remainder.

Think about it: 33 children a day – about 12,000 children a year – dying from injuries that can be prevented. Add to that number more than 9 million young people who are treated for injuries every year in emergency departments. Then think about what an impact we can have if we focus on changing those numbers.

That’s why, in conjunction with the release of the child injury reports, CDC’s Injury Center is launching a new initiative called Protect the Ones You Love: Child Injuries Are Preventable. We want to raise parents’ awareness about the leading causes of child injury and empower parents to prevent these injuries from occurring or make them less serious if they do occur.

Check out our tools at www.cdc.gov/safechild. You’ll find fact sheets, podcasts, e-cards, media guides and more. We offer prevention tips for five leading causes of injury: burns and fires, drowning, falls, poisonings, and road traffic injuries. We encourage you to use these resources to educate, build awareness and promote childhood injury prevention.

Let’s erase childhood accidents from our vocabulary. Together we can empower parents to keep their children safe. Let me know how we can help get you involved.

Public Comments

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this blog is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

  1. December 19, 2008 at 2:12 pm ET  -   Greg Raisman

    Dr Arias:
    I work as a Traffic Safety Specialist for the Portland Office of Transportation in Portland, Oregon. I am writing to thank you for your thoughtful comments on the proposed reduction of the minimum drinking age and your focus on traffic safety.

    I facilitate a multi-agency DUII Working Group in Portland, Oregon. If you are ever in Portland, it would be great to have the chance to meet. It would be ideal if we could hold a meeting with the Working Group to have a group discussion. The group includes judges, police, transportation officials, trauma nurses, safety advocates, treatment providers, industry professionals, the district attorney’s office, and a defense attorney.

    I would also like to provide some feedback. I appreciate the “Protect the ones you love” effort. However, I’d like to encourage greater focus on crash prevention. The materials I saw focused on child safety seats and helmets. While these are critical tools, I did not see central focus on speed reduction, reducing impaired driving, pedestrian, or bicycle safety strategies. From my perspective, a big reason the US lags so far behind in traffic safety is that we tend to focus on crash survivability for people in motor vehicles. This leads to all sorts of problems that has caused our fatality trends to remain significantly behind those of many other countries around the world. If we had followed their trends, we would see 20,000 fewer preventable deaths a year. See this excellent article for analysis: http://www.scienceservingsociety.com/p/161.pdf

    Thanks a million for your work on traffic safety!

    Greg Raisman
    Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership
    Portland Office of Transportation

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  2. December 20, 2008 at 7:49 pm ET  -   Catherine Thomas

    Dear Dr Arias,

    I am the Child Safety Program Coordinator for a small grass roots non profit in south Mississippi. Citizens Against Needless Death in Youth is a United Way Agency. I read both reports and I was floored at the numbers for Mississippi in the CDC Report. It’s a shameful thing to have the title of “Highest Rate of Death in Children 0-19 due to Unintentional Injury.” In looking at the safety programming we use compared to the report recommendations, I believe we are on the right track, but I was not able to disseminate from the grafts the true break down of ages/causes for Mississippi. The closest I came was to estimate from the individual causes and state rate, the following:

    Drilling down into the report Mississippi’s highest ranking age groups & causes are

    - Ages 0-1, Causes Suffocation, Transportation, Drowning respectively, MS ranks 10th in Nation

    - Ages 1-4, Causes; Transportation, Drowning & Fire respectively. MS ranks highest in Nation

    - Ages 5-9, Causes; Transportation, Fire, Drowning respectively, MS ranks 2nd in the Nation

    - Ages 10-14, Causes: Transportation, Drowning, Other injuries respectively, MS ranks 3rd in Nation

    - Ages 15-19, Causes: Transportation, Poisoning, Drowning tied with Other Injuries respectively. MS highest in Nation

    MS Ranking by Cause in all age groups (Top 5 in Bold):

    1. Drowning – 2nd highest in Nation

    2. Fires/Burns; MS in a 3way tie for 2nd highest in Nation

    3. Poison; 5way ties for 15th highest in Nation (We are below the nation average-this is good)

    4. Suffocation; 4 way tie for 14th highest (This is above the nation average)

    5. Transportation: MS is highest in Nation, but the 15-19yr olds are the highest age group. All other age groups are below national average

    6. Motor Vehicle Occupant; MS highest with 15-19 yr olds highest, less than a year-2nd highest & 5-9 3rd

    7. Pedestrian; MS 7way tie for 5th highest in nation- 1-4 yr olds highest age group followed by 15-19, then 5-14 yrolds

    I work closely with Gulf Coast Safe Kids and MS Health Dept and I understand we have new blood at the state level in Injury Prevention that holds great promise for making change occur. Hopefully we can confirm this data for MS. The health dept data has all injuries listed under a heading “Accidents”, you feel like I do about the term accidents, anyway, I am trying to get a source for braking down the data in the CDC report.

    Thank you for all the CDC does and I look forward to utilizing the tools at http://www.cdc.gov/safechild

    Stay Safe,

    Catherine Thomas, Child Safety Program Coordinator

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  3. December 30, 2008 at 3:41 pm ET  -   Dr. Ileana Airas

    Catherine,

    Thanks for reaching out. It must be very disconcerting to be #1 for something like child fatalities. However, I hope that the report can serve as a wake up call for the state and increase support for your work and that of others. We are ready to help in any way that we can so please contact us to explore possibilities.

    Ileana

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  4. December 30, 2008 at 3:43 pm ET  -   Dr. Ileana Arias

    Greg,

    Thanks for reaching out and for your thoughts on achieving safety. You are correct about the need for a comprehensive approach to prevention and make good points about areas to focus on. We look forward to continue to address some of these and release information and tools related to these issues throughout this coming year.

    I am making it a point to visit states to learn about the accomplishments and successes being made every day to prevent injuries, and to strengthen our collaborative efforts. I’m definitely interested in the great work that Oregon has done traditionally on a range of injury and violence prevention issues. I do look forward to visiting this coming year and would love to visit with you at that time as well. I’m sure we’ll be in touch.

    Ileana

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