The need to discontinue the use of the term "accident" when referring to unintentional injury events

Accid Anal Prev. 1988 Feb;20(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/0001-4575(88)90009-7.


Inconsistencies in the common usage of the words "accident" and "injury" are examined. The practical difficulties in applying some commonly accepted definitions are illustrated. It is shown how common notions of "accident" are not supported by the facts and are counter-productive to preventive measures. It is argued that the phrase "injury control" provides a more comprehensive perspective of the problem than the phrase "accident prevention", but its use also has disadvantages. It is concluded that health professionals should discontinue using the term "accident" and associated phrases, when referring to unintentional injury events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accident Prevention
  • Accidents*
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • Wounds and Injuries* / prevention & control