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Injuries of Babies and Children

an article by our site

In 1990, 19 million American children will be killed or injured in auto, household or play accidents. Injuries kill six times as many children as cancer, the second leading cause of childhood death. Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, M.D., who heads the National Safe Kids Campaign, likens the problem to an epidemic, noting that if a disease were killing this many children, people would be outraged, and demand that the killing be stopped.

Each year, nearly 9 million children aged 0 to 19 years are seen in emergency departments for injuries
Each year, nearly 9 million children aged 0 to 19 years are seen in emergency departments for injuries

Every hour, nearly 150 children between ages 0 and 19 are treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes. More children ages 5 to 19 die from crash-related injuries than from any other type of injury. Each year, nearly 9 million children aged 0 to 19 years are seen in emergency departments for injuries, and more than 9,000 children die as a result of being injured. (Source: Protect the Ones You Love: Child Injuries are Preventable, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

"Every day in the United States in 2012, two dozen children die from an injury that was not intended. Such tragedy often leaves families broken apart and changes the lives of those left behind. Injury deaths, however, are only part of the picture. Each year, millions of children in the United States are injured and live with the consequences of those injuries. These children may face disability and chronic pain that limit their ability to perform age-appropriate everyday activities over their lifetime. These deaths and injuries need not occur because they often result from predictable events. The good news is that we have solutions that work to prevent child injury. The challenge is to apply what we know and work together to prevent these unnecessary tragedies to children, families, and communities." (Source: Grant T. Baldwin, Director, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

More children ages 5 to 19 die from crash-related injuries than from any other type of injury
More children ages 5 to 19 die from crash-related injuries than from any other type of injury

"Childhood unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among children ages 1 to 19 years, representing nearly 40 percent of all deaths in this age group. Each year, an estimated 8.7 million children and teens from birth to age 19 are treated in emergency departments for unintentional injuries and more than 9,000 die as a result of their injuries—one every hour." (Source: The National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention, a publication of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The five leading causes and number of child deaths, by age group, United States, 2009

Public awareness about how to stop childhood injury catastrophes is slow. Funding for childhood-injury prevention remains inadequate. And though many causes of injury lend themselves to legislation or regulation, such measures are often not taken nor enforced. For example, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) from 1982 to 1990 have been linked to more than 1300 deaths, and almost 400,000 injuries requiring emergency-room treatment.

Surveys are great marketing, sociological, and demographic research tools
Surveys are great marketing, sociological, and demographic research tools

But (surveyed) ATV dealers are willing to sell an adult-size ATV for use by a ten-year-old, in violation of age restrictions agreed to by ATV manufacturers and the federal government. Koop puts some blame on parents, as they tend to look at an accident as random, but inevitable, certainly not something to write their congressman or congresswoman about. Therefore not much has happened at the federal level. Safety bills languish in committee, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission was a casualty of the Reagan Administration, hampered by inadequate funding and staff. (Source: Soman, Shirley Camper, "Endangered Kids," Longevity, April 1990, p. 94)

About 3,000 children in the U.S. die each year as a result of gunfire
About 3,000 children in the U.S. die each year as a result of gunfire

In addition, about 3,000 children in the U.S. die each year as a result of gunfire—intentional and accidental. That's about eight deaths each day. The number of nonfatal firearm injuries is estimated to be about five times more. Most shootings involve handguns. Gunshot wounds to children are usually more devastating than the equivalent to an adult because children's internal organs are more tightly packed. For teenagers, suicides with guns have risen dramatically since 1970, along with the homicides resulting from firearm use for males aged 15 to 24. Three fourths of these homicides in the U.S. result from firearm use, as compared to less than one fourth in other developed nations.

People are more likely to shoot themselves, a family member, relative, or friend than an intruder
People are more likely to shoot themselves, a family member, relative, or friend than an intruder

Although people believe they're keeping guns for self-protection, studies show that they are more likely to shoot themselves, a family member, relative, or friend than an intruder. A study in Washington state found that of several hundred firearm deaths in homes with guns only two fatalities were criminal intruders while 333 were domestic murders, accidents or suicides. About half of all U.S. homes own guns, and in an Ohio study of gunshot homicides it was found that 64 percent of firearms used were always kept loaded and an equal amount were not locked up. (Source: "Playing with Gunfire," University of California Wellness Letter, October 1991, pp. 6-7.)