Dec. 11 -- WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Motor vehicle crashes and falls cause most of the unintentional child and teen injuries and deaths in the United States, a new government report shows.
From 2001 to 2006, about 55 million children and teens (9.2 million a year) were treated at emergency departments for unintentional injuries, say researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls caused the majority of non-fatal injuries (about 2.8 million a year), while most deaths were transportation-related -- about 8,000 deaths a year involved a motor vehicle occupant, pedestrian or cyclist.
The report said falls were associated with more than half of nonfatal injuries involving children younger than 1, while transportation-related injuries and deaths were highest among teens aged 15 to 19.
Among the other key findings in the report:
The CDC report was released to coincide with the launch of the 2008 World Report on Child Injury Prevention by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
"Injuries are among the most under-recognized public health problems facing the United States today," Grant Baldwin, director of the CDC's Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, wrote in the report's foreword.
"About 20 children die every day from a preventable injury -- more than die from all diseases combined. Injuries requiring medical attention or resulting in restricted activity affect approximately 20 million children and adolescents and cost $17 billion annually in medical costs," Baldwin wrote. "Today, we recognize that these injuries, like the diseases that once killed children, are predictable, preventable and controllable."
"Injury risks change as our children grow and we want them to be appropriately protected as they develop. We encourage parents to be vigilant and to understand that there are proven ways to help reduce injuries at each life stage," Dr. Ileana Arias, director of CDC's Injury Center, said in an agency news release.
To help parents and caregivers prevent child and teen injuries, the CDC has introduced the "Protect the Ones You Love" initiative. Details can be found at www.cdc.gov/safechild.
The Nemours Foundation has more about child safety and first aid.
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Dec. 10, 2008