Skip to Content

Study Finds Risk of Injury Deaths Among Children Greatest for Infants

• Suffocation, transport and drowning deaths are three leading causes of fatal injuries among children, from birth-14 years of age, in the U.S.

• More than 77 million nonfatal injuries to children, from birth-14 years old, were treated in U.S. emergency departments from 2005-2017. For all ages, falls were the most common cause, representing 37 percent of all such injuries.

• The Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, with support from Fundación MAPFRE, analyzed 15 years of fatal and nonfatal injury data for children, from birth-14 years old.


WEBSTER, Mass., July 17, 201 9 – A study funded by Fundación MAPFRE finds that infants, defined as children younger than 1 year of age, have the highest unintentional (accidental) injury death rate among children, according to U.S. government data from 2005-2017, the most recent year for which the data are available.

The study, Child Injury in the United States, points out that infant death rates are three times higher (30.03/100,000) than for children aged 1-4 (8.74/100,000) and seven times higher than for children aged 5-14 (4.32/100,000). The study used publicly available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and was conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with support from Fundación MAPFRE, a nonprofit organization created by MAPFRE Group in 1975.


Suffocations and road traffic fatalities
The study examines the mechanisms of unintentional and intentional injuries among children, from birth-14 years of age. The majority of unintentional deaths among infants – 80 percent – were due to suffocations, and of these, 76 percent, or 9,550, were due to accidental suffocation or strangulation in bed.

The most common cause of unintentional injury death among children 1-14 years of age (49 percent) was transportation-related, including children as passengers in cars, on motorcycles and bicycles, and as pedestrians. While the number of transportation-related deaths has been decreasing over time for all ages, they claimed the lives of 21,571 children, from birth-14 years old, from 2005-2017.

Homicide rates are highest for infants, 7.54/100,000, compared to 2.30 among 1-4-year-olds, and 0.76 among 5-14-year-olds.


More investment in prevention

Fundación MAPFRE, a global foundation committed to people’s well-being and social progress, commissioned the study to learn more about the causes of fatalities and injuries among children in the United States and to develop safety programs.

The study’s authors note that access to these data is an essential first step in addressing this important public health problem. The fact that infancy carries such a risk for injury deaths is useful information that should encourage health care providers, parent educators, child advocacy organizations and others to invest more in prevention that can save lives. The report notes that effective solutions to many pediatric injuries exist and need to be more widely disseminated to guide prevention efforts.

“The study’s findings underscore the vulnerabilities of children of all ages to dangers both in and out of the home,” says Alfredo Castelo, Chief Representative of Fundación MAPFRE in the United States. “Fundación MAPFRE will use the data to shape current and future initiatives that help create an environment where every child is protected from fatal or serious injury.”


About Fundación MAPFRE

Fundación MAPFRE is a nonprofit organization created by MAPFRE in 1975 to promote the well-being of society and citizens across the company’s footprint. Active in 30 countries, Fundación MAPFRE focuses on five areas: Road Safety and Accident Prevention, including fires, mishaps at home and drownings; Insurance and Social Protection; Culture; Social Action; and Health Promotion. In 2018, Fundación MAPFRE performed nearly 300 activities around the world, benefiting 25.5 million people. Please visit https://www.fundacionmapfre.org/fundacion/en for more information about Fundación MAPFRE. The report, Child Injury in the United States: A Report to Fundación MAPFRE from the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, 2019, was written by Andrea Gielen, Eileen McDonald, Wendy Shields, Angela Sordo, and Jesus Monclús.


For further information, please contact Judy Senechal, MAPFRE USA, (508) 949-4988, jsenechal@mapfreusa.com.

Back to top