Kids' Accidental Injury Death Rate Down, But Still No. 1


Contact: Kristin Wedding


April 28, 2008

Kids' Accidental Injury Death Rate Down, But Still No. 1

Event at new fire museum May 3 to highlight safety with bikes, cars and swimming

CHARLESTON -- The accidental injury death rate of children 14 and under has declined by 45 percent in the US since 1987, yet accidental injury remains the nation's leading killer of children, according to a new national report released by Safe Kids USA.

The report also indicated that today's parents are doing little more than their late-1980s counterparts when it comes to ensuring child safety. Reasons offered by parents include a "not my child" belief regarding serious injury, that safety measures create hassle, and safety devices can be costly for some families. Consistency in safety measures was also of concern; for example, 31 percent of households with children 14 and under do not consistently ensure their children ride in the back seat of a car all the time; 24 percent do not consistently supervise their children around the water all the time and 18 percent do not always ensure their children (under 10 years of age) are with an adult when crossing the street. The report compares data from 1987, 1997, and 2007.

In celebration of National Safe Kids Week, Safe Kids Trident Area is holding an event May 3 at the North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum, which is celebrating its first anniversary. Games and activities for children of all ages and families are planned to encourage safety while riding a bicycle, swimming, and riding in a car, as well as other health and safety messages. Safe Kids Trident Area works to prevent accidental childhood injury and its members include local law enforcement, emergency medical service personnel and other community organizations. Safe Kids Trident Area is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Trident Area was founded in 1995 and is led by MUSC Children's Hospital.

"The drop in children's accidental deaths gives us thousands of reasons to celebrate - one for every single child that was saved from a serious or fatal injury, but we're still losing too many kids to incidents that could have been prevented with simple safety measures," said Kristin Wedding, Safe Kids Trident Area coordinator. "This is why Safe Kids Trident Area joins in the national efforts to make child injury prevention a priority in South Carolina."

The comprehensive national report was commissioned by Safe Kids USA to mark the 20th anniversary of Safe Kids Worldwide. Entitled Report to the Nation: Trends in Unintentional Childhood Injury Mortality and Parental Views on Child Safety, it examines accidental injury in the US and its impact on children by age, gender and race. It reviews the changes in accidental childhood injury death rates in areas such as motor vehicle occupant injuries and drowning. The study does report an increase in suffocation (which includes strangulation and choking) injuries, however this is partly due to a re-categorization of deaths previously attributable to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The injuries examined in the report are serious, many resulting in death or permanent disabilities. Many children survive, but live with significant physical and emotional health consequences for a lifetime. The stress on the children, their families and the health care system cannot be underestimated. In 2000, injuries to children 14 and under cost the US approximately $58 billion in medical bills, lost wages of the children's caregivers, and more. "The great strides made during the past 20 years in reducing accidental childhood injuries by Safe Kids USA, the American injury prevention community, parents and governments are reasons for optimism," Wedding said. "All of us can do more to create a safer environment for the children of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties."

For more information or a copy of the report, visit The report was funded by an educational grant from Johnson & Johnson. For more information about what parents and government can do to promote safety, request an electronic fact sheet at ###