Injuries are the most important cause of mortality, morbidity, and disability during childhood and adolescence. Injuries with the greatest impact on the behavioral and emotional development of the child are head injuries and severe burns, both of which can markedly impact on subsequent development. Important risk factors for injury are gender, age, socioeconomic status, developmental status, behavior problems, substance abuse by parent and adolescent, and parents' perceptions of injury risk. These factors interact to increase or decrease the risk of injury in any given child and are much more meaningful than the futile search for the "accident-prone" individual. These factors must be taken into consideration when planning intervention strategies to ensure optimal effectiveness of intervention.