Just how serious is the child injury epidemic in our nation? It may surprise you to learn that New York child injuries are far more prevalent than you thought. Every day in our country, about two dozen children die from an unintended, and probably preventable, traumatic injury. Millions of children are affected by child injury every year, with many suffering ongoing chronic pain and disability because of their wounds. Although government and public health agencies are working together to improve injuries due to school accidents and other causes, we still have a long way to go until all New York kids are safe from physical trauma.
Why should we care about child injuries?
Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death among Americans ages 1 to 19. This statistic encompasses a variety of incidents that can be caused by babysitting injuries or teen injuries. In fact, about 9 million children are treated for traumatic injury in hospital emergency rooms every year, with more than a quarter-million requiring hospitalization. Surprisingly, even though we have made important strides in other causes of death, such as disease, traumatic injury rates have remained relatively stable for a significant period of time.
What are the risk factors?
Children are more likely to be injured if they share certain characteristics that make them more vulnerable. These may include gender — male children are more likely to be injured than female children — along with demographic considerations such as overcrowding in the home, living in a single-parent home and living with adults who have low educational attainment.
Do we have options?
Yes! National groups are working to implement public health models that are designed to improve injury prevention, especially for child injuries. Initiatives designed to prevent injuries from motor vehicle accidents and other causes are being launched even as you read this article. Sadly, not all of our preventive efforts can be successful, and children may still be harmed. For those cases, the responsible party may be held financially responsible in a New York civil court.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention,” accessed Aug. 25, 2015