Epidemiology

Trauma is responsible for over 600,000 pediatric hospitalizations each year in the United States, 1 and is the second leading cause of ED visits after infections.2 Head injury is the most frequent cause of death.3 Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children over the age of 1 year, accounting for 18 percent of all deaths and 37 percent of all deaths due to trauma.4 Motor vehicle crashes are also the most frequent cause of injury.13 Alcohol use by a driver is a factor in almost 25 percent of these crashes.5 Under the age of 1 year, suffocation is the most common cause of death due to injury.4 The other leading causes of death are drowning, fire/burn, and firearms. Death rates for boys over the age of 5 is twice the rate for girls. 4 Children who are economically disadvantaged are 2.6 times more likely to die from trauma.

Homicide accounts for about 25 percent of pediatric deaths. Infants are 10 times more likely to die from homicide than are children 5 to 9 years of age. 4 Rates of death from injury among children have declined over the past 10 years in the United States in all categories except for firearms, suffocation, and poisoning.

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