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Child Injury and Mortality

Narrative

In 2010, the mortality rate among children aged 1–4 years was 26.5 per 100,000 children in that age group, and the rate among children aged 5–14 years was 12.9 per 100,000. Only the mortality rate for children aged 5–14 years declined significantly from 2009 levels, by 1 death per 100,000 or 7.2 percent.1 However, both the 1–4 year and 5–14 year age groups experienced significant mortality declines from 2000, by 18.5 and 28.9 percent, respectively.1,2 These declines may be largely attributed to decreases in unintentional injury,3 which remains the leading cause of child death, accounting for over 30 percent of all deaths in 2010. Congenital anomalies (or birth defects) were the second most common cause of death for 1- to 4-yearolds (3.1 per 100,000) and the third leading cause for 5- to 14-year-olds (0.7 per 100,000). The rate of cancer death was similar for both age groups, about 2 deaths per 100,000, but constituted a greater proportion of deaths among children aged 5–14 years (second leading cause) compared to 1–to 4-year-olds (fourth leading cause) due to their lower overall mortality rate.

The leading causes of unintentional injury also vary by age. In 2009, drowning accounted for the largest number of unintentional injury deaths among children aged 1–4 years, while motor vehicle accidents was the leading cause among children aged 5–14 years (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).4

Child injury and mortality vary greatly by race and ethnicity. In 2010, mortality rates among children aged 1–14 years were at least twice as high among non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native and non-Hispanic Black children as non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander children, who had the lowest rates. For example, there were 50.1 and 40.2 deaths per 100,000 non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native and non-Hispanic Black children aged 1–4 years, respectively, compared to 18.5 deaths per 100,000 non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander children of the same age. Unintentional injury death rates are also highest among non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native and non-Hispanic Black children (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).4

1 Murphy SL, Xu JQ, Kochanek KD. Deaths: Final data for 2010. National vital statistics reports; vol 61 no 4. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File 1999-2009. Accessed: August 23, 2012.

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital signs: Unintentional injury deaths among persons aged 0-19 years - United States, 2000-2009. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2012 Apr 20;61:270-6

4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Accessed: August 23, 2012.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

leading causes of death among children graph

This image is described in the Data section.

children's mortality rates graph

Data

Mortality Rates Among Children Aged 1–14, by Selected Leading Cause and Age, 2010
Cause of Death Rate per 100,000 (Rank)
Children Aged 1-4 Years Children Aged 5-14 Years
Source: Murphy SL, Xu JQ, Kochanek KD. Deaths: Final data for 2010. National vital statistics reports; vol 61 no 4. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012.
All Causes 26.5 12.9
Unintentional Injury 8.6 (1) 4.0 (1)
Congenital Anomalies 3.1 (2) 0.7 (3)
Homicide 2.4 (3) 0.6 (5)
Cancer 2.1 (4) 2.2 (2)
Heart Disease 0.5 (5) 0.4 (6)
Influenza and Pneumonia 0.6 (6) 0.2 (10)
Mortality Rates Among Children Aged 1–14, by Race/Ethnicity and Age, 2010
Race/Ethnicity Rate per 100,000
Children Aged 1-4 Years Children Aged 5-14 Years
*May include Hispanic
† Separate estimates for Asians and Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders were not available

Source: Murphy SL, Xu JQ, Kochanek KD. Deaths: Final data for 2010. National vital statistics reports; vol 61 no 4. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012.
Non-Hispanic White 24.7 12.6
Non-Hispanic Black 40.2 18.1
Hispanic 22.7 10.2
American Indian/Alaska Native* 50.1 24.0
Asian/Pacific Islander*† 18.5 8.5