Study Finds Most Accidental Child Deaths Occur at Home and Are Preventable

A recent study gives further credence the long standing belief that most serious accidents happen at home.

The current research, which considers accidents in children and appears in the August issue of Pediatrics, concludes that over 50% of accidental child deaths that occur in a known location happen at home.

The most common causes of accidental deaths among children at home were fires, submersion in water, suffocation, poisoning, and falls. Aside from motor vehicle accidents, children died from accidents at home more frequently than from incidents occurring any other place.

The study considered injury-related deaths of children under 20 from 1985-1997 using the National Vital Statistics System Mortality Data. Of the 14,500 children that died from accidental injuries, 65% were the result of car accidents and the other 35% occurred in a familiar location.
Although fatal accidents at home decreased by 22% over this time period, about 55% of the 5,100 unintentional fatal injuries were sustained in the home. Most of these accidents involved situations which could have been avoided with proper supervision and/or adequate safety measures.

Age, gender and race all played a factor. The highest death rates appeared among infants under 1 and children ages 1-5. Boys were twice as likely to die as girls and black children twice as likely to sustain fatal injuries as white children.

The statistics suggest that substandard housing, poverty, and education levels impacted infant death rates within the home. Ensuring proper housing standards for all citizens could prevent unnecessary deaths of young children, who are proven to be victims of circumstance.

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