Vital signs: Unintentional injury deaths among persons aged 0-19 years - United States, 2000-2009

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012 Apr 20:61:270-6.


Background: Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in the United States for persons aged 1-19 years and the fifth leading cause of death for newborns and infants aged <1 year. This report describes 10-year trends in unintentional injury deaths among persons aged 0-19 years.

Methods: CDC analyzed 2000-2009 mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System by age group, sex, race/ethnicity, injury mechanism, and state.

Results: From 2000 to 2009, the overall annual unintentional injury death rate decreased 29%, from 15.5 to 11.0 per 100,000 population, accounting for 9,143 deaths in 2009. The rate decreased among all age groups except newborns and infants aged <1 year; in this age group, rates increased from 23.1 to 27.7 per 100,000 primarily as a result of an increase in reported suffocations. The poisoning death rate among teens aged 15-19 years nearly doubled, from 1.7 to 3.3 per 100,000, in part because of an increase in prescription drug overdoses (e.g., opioid pain relievers). Childhood motor vehicle traffic-related death rates declined 41%; however, these deaths remain the leading cause of unintentional injury death. Among states, unintentional injury death rates varied widely, from 4.0 to 25.1 per 100,000 in 2009. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH PRACTICE: Although the annual rate is declining, unintentional injury remains the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the United States, led by motor vehicle traffic-related deaths. Death rates from infant suffocation and teen poisoning are increasing. The 2012 National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention provides actions in surveillance, research, communication, education, health care, and public policy to guide efforts in saving lives by reducing injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mortality / trends
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*
  • Young Adult