Unintentional Injury Leading Cause of Child Death
Unintentional injuries remain the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the United States despite a decline in the overall annual rate, according to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Analysis of 2000-2009 morality data from the CDC’s National Vital Statistics System showed that the overall annual unintentional injury death rate for persons aged 19 years and younger dropped 29% (from 15.5 to 11 per 100,000 population) from 2000 to 2009. The rate decreased among all age groups except for newborns and infants younger than 1 year; in this age group, rates increased from 23.1 to 27.7 per 100,000, primarily as a result of a 54% increase in reported suffocations.
The overall decrease in child injury rates was largely because of a 41% drop in motor vehicle crash deaths in children (attributed to improved use of child safety seats and booster seats, among other factors). Motor vehicle traffic-related deaths, however, are still the leading cause of injury deaths for children and adolescents aged 5 to 19 years.
Poisoning death rates nearly doubled, driven by a 91% increase in deaths among teens aged 15 to 19 years, partly because of prescription drug overdoses.
Deaths from other unintentional injuries, including drowning, fires and burns, and falls, decreased. The report did not include injuries caused by violence or maltreatment.
According to the CDC, health care providers can help to reduce deaths by providing education and anticipatory guidance to patients and families and advocate in their communities to identify risks, educate community members, and advocate for change, as outlined in the National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention.
Contemporary Pediatrics Staff (2012). “Unintentional injury leading cause of child death”. Retrieved from http://contemporarypediatrics.modernmedicine.com/contemporary-pediatrics/news/modernmedicine/modern-medicine-news/unintentional-injury-leading-cause-, 28 April 2014.
Bicycle Helmet Project
In the past 5 years, 422 children injured via bicycles, skateboard, roller-skates/rollerblade and scooters were injured severely enough to be entered into the Trauma Registry at Cook Children’s Hospital; only 10.6% were wearing any type of protective gear during the incident. There is a current Fort Worth City Ordinance for bike helmets. Much of the community was not aware of this law and it has historically not been enforced. The task force decided to creatively change the culture by engaging the Fort Worth Neighborhood Police Officers (NPO’s), as well as the Fort Worth Fire Department (FWFD) and MedStar. The NPO’s were trained to properly fit a bike helmet, and instructed to engage with children sighted riding their bikes. The officers, while out on patrol, would stop and educate any child on a bike riding without a helmet. If the child did not own a helmet, the officer would fit them for a helmet on the spot. Hundreds of bike helmets were donated by Hard Hats for Little Heads, Pate Rehabilitation, and North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council. The children were also educated on the reasons for wearing a helmet, as well as what the City Ordinance states. Outreach was concentrated in “hot spots” of bike injuries. Laminated tags with the ordinance and the penalty were provided by Cook Childrens and attached to each helmet.
- Ice Cream coupons donated by Blue Bell, Braum’s and Texas Dairy Queen were distributed by the FWPD, FWFD, and MedStar to children observed properly wearing helmets while bike riding.
- PSA provided by The Ranch Radio Station
- Press release was posted on the city’s website and on the “Kids Ride” link.
- CBS 11 News aired a story on this initiative which served to educate the public as well
- September 13th 2012 (Back to School Helmet day) Fort Worth Police Department, Fire Department, and Medstar, targeted 13 schools based on higher volume bike injuries by zip code. They met the students by the bike racks and educated them on helmet safety and laws, as well as provided free helmets to those who needed and rewarded those who had helmets with ice cream coupons.
We have isolated the incidents/percentage of head injuries without safety gear by zip code and have concentrated on those zip codes with high volumes. We will then compare one year after the initiation of our project the incidents/percentage of bike related head injuries occurring without safety gear.
Needlestick Safety and Prevention
In 2013, an increase of accidental needle sticks occurring in local community parks, school playgrounds, and parking lots. The committee has developed an action plan incorporating all the FWISD nurses, FWPACS staff, and FWPD NPOs to educate children and parents on the dangers and what to do with needles found in the community. This education program is intended to prevent any further incidents.
Pediatric needle-sticks reported to Cook Children’s Emergency Department and or Infectious Diseases Department will be tracked on a monthly basis.
Click picture below for the Needlestick Education Presentation:
The Child Injury Task Force is beginning to turn its focus to the issue of youth violence. Please refer to task force meeting minutes for additional details as this work progresses.