House-fire and drowning deaths among children and young adults

Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1991 Mar;12(1):33-5.


House fires and drownings remain frequent causes of pediatric and young adult mortality and morbidity, yet have received less attention than other causes of injury to the young. To investigate the gender, racial and socio-economic components of these problems, as well as the contribution of chronic disabilities, all deaths in a single state over a 7-year period in the birth through 24-year-old population were studied. Females and males overall had no appreciable differences in house-fire mortality. Females from birth through age 4 were more at risk, however, than older females of dying in house fires, but did not appear at more risk than males of the same age. Nonwhite males under age 4 were much more at risk than white males. Nonwhite females compared similarly to white females, both in the birth through 4-year age range, as well as in the overall population studied. Males had more drowning deaths overall than females, with most of the difference attributable to a large male predominance in the 15- through 24-year age group. Furthermore, males in this age group were much more likely to drown than were younger males. Both males and females in this age group were at particular risk if they had a past history of seizures. No other gender or racial differences could be determined, either in the overall population or in the separate age groups, except in victims greater than 4 years of age many more deaths were found in the lower three socio-economic quintiles than in the higher two.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drowning / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Fires / statistics & numerical data*
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Rhode Island / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors