Objectives: National data are not routinely available regarding the incidence of and associated risk factors for nonfatal injuries in children and youth. The Child Health Supplement to the 1988 National Health Interview Survey provided an opportunity to determine accurate national estimates of childhood injury morbidity by demographic factors, location, external cause, nature of injury, and other factors.
Methods: The closest adult for 17,110 sampled children was asked whether the child had had an injury, accident, or poisoning during the preceding 12 months and about the cause, location, and consequences of the event. An analysis for potential underreporting from 12 months of recall provided adjustments of annual rates to those for a 1-month recall period.
Results: On the basis of 2772 reported injuries, the national estimated annual rate for children 0 to 17 years of age was 27 per 100 children after adjustment to 1-month recall. Boys experienced significantly higher rates than girls (risk ratio [RR] = 1.52, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.37, 1.68), and adolescents experienced the highest overall rate (38 per 100 children) and proportion of serious injuries.
Conclusions: Approximately one fourth of US children experience a medically attended injury each year, but the risks vary considerably depending on the characteristics of subgroups and the injury cause.