According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign's May 2003 Report to the Nation: Trends in Unintentional Childhood Injury Mortality, 1987-2000:
- There were nearly 11.8 million medical visits for unintentional injury among U.S. children ages 14 and under in 2000, or one injury visit for every five children. More than 16 percent of all hospitalizations for unintentional injuries among children result in permanent disability.
- The unintentional injury death rate among children ages 14 and under has dropped 39 percent from 1987 to 2000 -- one of the most dramatic declines seen in a children's health issue. Despite this tremendous progress, UNINTENTIONAL INJURY CONTINUES TO BE THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH AMONG CHILDREN AGES 14 AND UNDER IN THE UNITED STATES, claiming more than 5,600 child lives annually, or an average of 15 children each day -- MORE THAN FROM ALL CHILDHOOD DISEASES COMBINED.
- These facts illustrate both the value of injury prevention measures, and the need to continue. Along with many others, childproofers help fill this need.
The report states that many factors have contributed to the dramatic decline in the unintentional childhood injury death rate. These include:
- Research into the epidemiology of unintentional childhood injury-related mortality and the effectiveness of intervention strategies
- Recognition of child injury as a public health issue, amenable to prevention, rather than the result of unforeseen, uncontrollable "accidents"
- Nationwide, targeted public education campaigns by national and community-based organizations and federal agencies
- Continuous development and improvement of safety devices and increases in their use -- in which childproofers play an important role, giving feedback to and working with manufacturers to develop new products and improve the quality and effectiveness of current products. We do this for a living, and therefore know which products work best, which don't, and why -- from repeated installations of many products in different settings
- Enactment and enforcement of laws promoting child safety
The National Safe Kids' Report to the Nation also compared the declines in unintentional injury death rates between age groups and sexes:
- Children under age 1 have the highest rate of unintentional injury-related death with a rate more than twice that of all children. In addition, they have made the least progress -- only a 10 percent reduction in the death rate between 1987 and 2000. Airway obstruction is the leading injury killer in this age group, accounting for nearly 60 percent of unintentional injury deaths.
- Children ages 1 to 4, who have the second highest rate of unintentional injury-related death, showed an injury death rate decline of 42 percent. Drowning, accounting for 27 percent of unintentional injury deaths, is the leading injury killer in this age group.
- Children ages 5 to 9 have the lowest rate of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 14 and under and had a 42 percent rate reduction. Motor vehicle occupant injury is the leading cause of death in this age group, accounting for 35 percent of unintentional injury deaths.
- Children ages 10 to 14, who have the third highest rate of unintentional injury-related death had a death rate decline of 40 percent. Motor vehicle occupant injury is the leading killer in this age group, responsible for 40 percent of unintentional injury deaths.
- The unintentional injury death rate for boys is 1.5 times higher than that for girls.
MOTOR VEHICLE OCCUPANT INJURY
- THE LEADING CAUSE OF INJURY-RELATED DEATH AMONG CHILDREN.
- In 2000, 1,654 child occupants ages 14 and under died in motor vehicle crashes. In addition, an estimated 228,000 child occupants in this age group were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2001.
- Of the U.S. geographic regions, the South exhibited the least decline (29 percent) in the motor vehicle occupant death rate for children ages 14 and under, compared with 73 percent for the Northeast, 37 percent for the Midwest and 46 percent for the West.
- An estimated 14 percent of children ages 14 and under ride unrestrained, and 55 percent of those children killed as motor vehicle occupants in 2001 were unrestrained. In addition, nearly one-third of children ride in the wrong restraint for their age and size, and an estimated 82 percent of child safety seats are installed incorrectly.
- The 2nd leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 14 and under, claiming 943 children in this age group in 2000.
- An estimated 4,700 children ages 14 and under required hospital emergency room treatment for unintentional drowning-related incidents in 2001.
- As many as 20 percent of near-drowning survivors suffer severe, permanent neurological disability.
- Of the U.S. geographic regions, the West showed the greatest improvement, with a drop of 46 percent. Comparatively, the South -- which continues to have the highest child drowning death rate -- experienced a 28 percent death rate reduction.
- As swimming pools are the second most common site of childhood drownings (open bodies of water ranks 1st), the installation of isolation (i.e. four-sided) fencing, self-closing and self-latching gates, pool alarms and pool covers in some homes may have also contributed in small part to declines in the drowning death rate. However, much more work is needed to INCREASE THE USE OF THESE BARRIERS AND SAFETY DEVICES FOR SWIMMING POOLS.
- The 2nd leading cause of injury-related death among children ages 5 to 14. In 2000, 706 child pedestrians ages 14 and under died, and 534 of these deaths occurred in motor vehicle-related traffic crashes.
- An estimated 47,300 children in this age group were treated in hospital emergency rooms for pedestrian-related injuries in 2001.
- Those ages 1 to 4 are at greatest risk of pedestrian death, particularly from nontraffic-related pedestrian injuries.
- The bicycle injury death rate among children ages 14 and under declined 60 percent from 1987 to 2000, yet bicycle injury remains an important cause of child mortality and morbidity.
- In 2000, 168 children ages 14 and under died in bicycle-related crashes.
- Nearly 315,000 children ages 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries in 2001.
- Children ages 10 to 14 have the highest bicycle-related death rate of all child age groups.
FIRE AND BURN INJURY
- The fifth leading cause of child unintentional injury-related death.
- In 2000, 603 children ages 14 and under died from unintentional fire and burn injury. Fire and flames accounted for 593, or 98 percent, of these deaths.
- In 2001, an estimated 99,400 children ages 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for burn-related injuries -- including scald, thermal, chemical and electrical burns.
- Children ages 4 and under are at the greatest risk, with a fire-and burn-related death rate nearly twice that of all children.
UNINTENTIONAL FIREARM INJURY
- The decline in the unintentional firearm injury death rate among children ages 14 and under from 1987 to 2000 was 72 percent, one of the most remarkable of the injury risk areas reviewed for this analysis.
- However, 86 children ages 14 and under died from unintentional firearm-related injuries in 2000.
- For every child who dies from an unintentional firearm-related injury, there are 16 children who require treatment in hospital emergency rooms for these injuries -- an estimated 1,400 children ages 14 and under in 2001.
- Children ages 10 to 14 have the highest rate of unintentional firearm-related death, a rate 1.5 times higher than that of all children.
- EXAMPLES: BABY WALKERS, STAIRS, UNSAFE PLAYGROUNDS, WINDOWS NOT EQUIPPED WITH WINDOW GUARDS OR WINDOW STOPS.
- THE LEADING CAUSE OF NONFATAL UNINTENTIONAL INJURY AMONG CHILDREN.
- In 2000, 81 children ages 14 and under died as a result of unintentional falls.
- In 2001, MORE THAN 2.5 MILLION CHILDREN in this age group REQUIRED HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM TREATMENT FOR FALL-RELATED INJURIES.
- More than half of all nonfatal injuries to children are related to falls, and falls are the leading cause of injuries associated with nursery products.
- Children ages 4 and under are at greatest risk of fall-related death and are twice as likely as children of other ages to die from falls.
AIRWAY OBSTRUCTION INJURY (Includes suffocation, strangulation, choking)
- EXAMPLES: Suffocation with pillows, choking on food or small objects, and strangulation from window blinds and clothing strings.
- The death rate due to airway obstruction injury (AOI) increased 6 percent among infants under age 1, persisting as one of the most challenging child injury risk areas.
- THE LEADING CAUSE OF UNINTENTIONAL INJURY-RELATED DEATH AMONG INFANTS UNDER AGE 1.
- In 2000, 794 children ages 14 and under died from unintentional airway obstruction injuries, including 160 choking deaths.
- More than 16,000 children in this age group needed hospital emergency room treatment for airway obstruction injuries in 2001 alone.
- Children, especially those under age 3, are particularly vulnerable to AOI due to their small upper airways, their relative inexperience with chewing and their natural tendency to put objects in their mouths.
- On average, infants account for approximately 64 percent of unintentional AOI deaths among children ages 14 and under, and have a death rate 10 times that of all children.
- Children are at risk of poisoning from household and personal care products, medicines, vitamins, indoor plants, lead and carbon monoxide (CO).
- In 2000, 91 children ages 14 and under died as a result of unintentional poisoning.
- An estimated 114,110 children in this age group were treated in hospital emergency rooms for unintentional poisoning in 2001.
- Children ages 4 and under are at greatest risk of unintentional poisoning, with a death rate 1.5 times higher than that of all children.
- Each year, more than 1.1 million unintentional poisonings amoung children ages 5 and under are reported to U.S. poison control centers.
To view the National SAFE KIDS Campaign's Report to the Nation: Trends in Unintentional Childhood Injury Mortality, 1987-2000 (May 2003) in full, click on the following link at the SAFE KIDS website: