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How Safe Is Safe?

Are You Taking The Time To Make Sure Your Kids Are Safe?


Updated May 27, 2009

Parents are often advised to do many things to keep their kids safe and prevent unnecessary injuries. I think that although many parents understand the need to be mindful of their children's safety, they still often wonder if they really need to do everything that is recommended.

Do you really need locks on your cabinets, covers on electrical outlets, or a gate around your pool?

Can your kids be too safe?

Personally I think that you can never be too safe. That doesn't mean that your children have to wear pads and a helmet at all times, but the more chances you take, the more likely your children will get hurt at some time.

It is important to remember that accidents (unintentional injuries) are the leading cause of death for children over age 1 years (and the 7th leading cause of death for children under a year old).

Even though unintentional injuries is a better term than accidents, it is even better to call these preventable injuries, since very often (but unfortunately not always) they can be prevented with the proper safety measures.

Here are the leading causes of death for children age 1 to 18 years in 2006:

  1. Unintentional Injury (8.644 deaths)
  2. Homicide (2,338 deaths)
  3. Malignant Neoplasms (1,796 deaths)
  4. Suicide (1,296 deaths)
  5. Congenital Anomalies (1,036 deaths)
  6. Heart Disease (674 deaths)
  7. Influenza & Pneumonia (249 deaths)
  8. Septicemia (217 deaths)
  9. Chronic Low. Respiratory Disease (210 deaths)
  10. Cerebrovascular Disease (196 deaths)

As you can see, none of the other leading causes of death even comes close to the numbers caused by accidents.

Which injuries and accidents cause the most deaths?

Here is the 2006 data:

  1. Unintentional MV Traffic accidents (5,205 deaths)
  2. Unintentional Drowning (948 deaths)
  3. Unintentional Poisonings (532 deaths)
  4. Unintentional Fire/Burns (449 deaths)
  5. Unintentional Suffocation (308 deaths)
  6. Unintentional Other Land Transport accidents(220 deaths) - (including ATV accidents, horseback riding accidents, etc.)
  7. Unintentional Pedestrian, Other (205 deaths) - (child getting hit by a car or train, etc.)
  8. Unintentional Falls (125 deaths)
  9. Unintentional Firearm accidents (102 deaths)
  10. Unintentional Other Transport accidents (87 deaths) - (boat and plane accidents, etc.)


WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, 1999 - 2006. Accessed May 2009.

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