Unintentional Injury Hospitalizations, by Age

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Learn More About Injuries

Measures of Injuries on Kidsdata.org
Injuries data on kidsdata.org are based on hospital discharges for non-fatal injuries among children and young adults ages 0-24. These include:
Injuries
Child Abuse and Neglect
Deaths
School Safety
Hospitalizations
Youth Suicide and Self-Inflicted Injury
Why This Topic Is Important
More than 8 million children and youth are treated for non-fatal injuries in U.S. emergency rooms each year, and more than 200,000 require hospitalization (1, 2). For some, injury can lead to chronic pain, permanent disability, depression, and decreased ability to participate in educational and social activities (1). Family members often must care for an injured child, which can cause stress and lost income (1). Considering medical and other expenses, work loss, and reduced quality of life, unintentional injuries among children in the U.S. cost more than $200 billion yearly (1).

Intentional injuries, such as assault or self-inflected harm, though less common than unintentional injuries, still are among the leading causes of non-fatal injury hospitalization among children and youth ages 0-19, statewide and nationally (2, 3).

Firearm injuries, which may be intentional or unintentional, disproportionately affect young people. In 2014, youth ages 15-24 represented less than 15% of the U.S. population but accounted for more than 40% of all non-fatal firearm-related injuries (2).
For more information on injuries, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section.

Sources for this narrative:

1.  National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2012). National action plan for child injury prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/safechild/nap/index.html

2.  National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (n.d.). WISQARS: Nonfatal injury data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/nonfatal.html

3.  California Department of Public Health. (n.d.). EpiCenter: Injury data summaries. Retrieved from: http://epicenter.cdph.ca.gov/ReportMenus/DataSummaries.aspx
How Children Are Faring
There were 25,579 hospital discharges for non-fatal injuries among California children and youth ages 0-20 in 2014. The statewide rate of hospital discharge for injuries among children/youth decreased by more than 40% between 1993 and 2014, from 412 to 237 per 100,000. Among counties with data in 2014, the injury hospitalization rate ranged from 145 (Marin) to 375 (Amador).

Discharge rates for unintentional injuries, which account for the majority of all injury hospitalizations among California children/youth, have fluctuated in recent years, but are lower than 1993 levels. This is true overall and among all age groups but infants under age 1, whose rates have remained relatively constant: In 1993 infants had the second lowest rate of discharge for unintentional injuries (273 per 100,000) among age groups, whereas in 2014 they had the highest rate (265 per 100,000). The statewide rate for intentional injuries is highest among youth ages 16-20, followed by children ages 13-15.

In 2014, non-fatal firearm injuries accounted for 1,152 hospital discharges among California children and young adults ages 0-24 (8.8 per 100,000), down from more than 5,000 (43 per 100,000) in 1991. In 2014, boys and young men were discharged for firearm injuries at more than ten times the rate (15.8 per 100,000) of girls and young women (1.4 per 100,000), and the rate of discharge among African American/black youth (53.6 per 100,000) was more than six times higher than for any other group with data. Across demographic groups, assault is the most common cause of non-fatal firearm injury in California.
Policy Implications
Injuries among children and youth are a serious and costly public health concern. Most unintentional injuries are predictable and preventable, and many can be addressed by policies and programs focused on safety (1). Intentional injuries, often occurring as a result of violence, also can be prevented through multi-level approaches directed towards individuals, families, schools, and communities (2, 3).

Policy and program options that could reduce injuries among children and youth include:
  • Supporting research-based, cross-sector strategies to promote positive emotional health among children, youth, and parents, including routine and accessible mental health screening and services (4)
  • Preventing child maltreatment by ensuring that children have safe, stable, and caring relationships with parents and caregivers, e.g., by supporting evidence-based efforts that provide parents/caregivers with information, training, and support, such as home-visiting programs for high-risk groups and hospital-based education programs for new mothers (5)
  • Educating families and caregivers on injury prevention related to the accidental exposure to medications—the leading cause of child poisoning—and other risks at home, such as bathtubs, stoves, windows, and firearms (6, 7)
  • Promoting school policies that foster a positive school climate—where students feel safe, connected, and supported at school—which is associated with lower levels of student violence and high-risk behavior, including substance use (8)
  • Offering young people alternatives to violence while fostering connections to caring adults through community-based education, outreach, and mentoring (3, 9)
  • Strengthening, enforcing, and promoting awareness of motor vehicle safety laws, including those concerning car seats, seat belts, Graduated Driver Licensing systems, and drunk or distracted driving (10)
  • Addressing family poverty, low parent education levels, neighborhood economic distress, and other social risk factors associated with child injury and maltreatment (1, 5)
  • Expanding public health surveillance and targeted research into the prevalence, predictors, and consequences of youth gun violence (3, 7)
For more information about injury prevention, see kidsdata.org's Research & Links section. Also see Policy Implications on kidsdata.org under these topics: Youth Suicide and Self-Inflicted Injury, Children's Emotional Health, School Connectedness, Child Abuse and Neglect, and Childhood Adversity and Resilience.

Sources for this narrative:

1.  National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2012). National action plan for child injury prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/safechild/nap/index.html

2.  Moore, K. A., et al. (2015). Preventing violence: Understanding and addressing determinants of youth violence in the United States. Child Trends & Futures Without Violence. Retrieved from: https://www.childtrends.org/publications/preventing-violence

3.  Development Services Group, Inc. (2016). Gun violence and youth. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.ojjdp.gov/mpg/litreviews/gun-violence-and-youth.pdf

4.  Murphey, D., et al. (2014). Are the children well? A model and recommendations for promoting the mental wellness of the nation’s young people. Child Trends & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Retrieved from: http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2014/07/are-the-children-well-.html

5.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Preventing child maltreatment through the promotion of safe, stable, nurturing relationships between children and caregivers. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/CM_Strategic_Direction--Long-a.pdf

6.  Safe Kids Worldwide. (2015). Report to the nation: Protecting children in your home. Retrieved from: http://www.safekids.org/research-report/report-nation-protecting-children-your-home-february-2015

7.  Safe States Alliance. (2013). Preventing firearm-related violence and injuries. Retrieved from: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.safestates.org/resource/resmgr/Files/Safe_States_Firearm_Policy_S.pdf

8.  Morgan, E., et al. (2014). The school discipline consensus report: Strategies from the field to keep students engaged in school and out of the juvenile justice system. Council of State Governments Justice Center. Retrieved from: http://csgjusticecenter.org/youth/school-discipline-consensus-report

9.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Preventing suicide through connectedness. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/asap_suicide_issue3-a.pdf

10.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Motor vehicle safety. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety
Websites with Related Information
Key Reports and Research
County/Regional Reports
More Data Sources For Injuries