CDC examines unintentional injuries among young people

October 24, 2012

Atlanta – Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for young people, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers found approximately 12,000 people 19 and younger die from unintentional injuries each year, and an additional 9 million go to the emergency department for nonfatal injuries.

They used a calculation called “years of potential life lost” to estimate the burden to specific groups. Unintentional injuries were more prevalent among males (who had almost twice the risk of females), infants younger than 1, and people 15-19 years old.

Traffic incidents contributed to 55 percent of the life-years lost, followed by suffocation and drowning.

CDC called decreasing the number of unintentional injuries a “central challenge for public health in the United States.” Recommendations for preventing injuries include using safety belts, reducing drinking and driving, passing stronger Graduated Driver Licensing laws and encouraging safe sleep practices for infants.

The study was published in the Oct. 19 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.