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25 Child Injury Statistics & Facts: 2024 Key Insights

Discover critical child injury statistics: a must-read for safeguarding your kids.

Every hour, 29 children are hospitalized, and 1,000 visit emergency rooms due to unintentional injuries in the U.S. (1). Unfortunately, it’s common for a child to experience an injury, whether minor or severe, at some point in their life.

As a parent, understanding the risks of childhood injuries is crucial. We’ve compiled 25 interesting child injury statistics and facts across topics such as common childhood injuries and playground accidents.

We’ll also discuss safety measures for preventing childhood injury, which can be helpful for parents, especially first-time moms and dads.

Key Facts About Childhood Injury

Below are five quick facts about childhood injury for those in a rush:

  1. Falls are the most common cause of childhood injury, with 8,000 kids treated in the U.S. every day.
  2. An unsafe environment is a leading cause of childhood injury.
  3. Between 2009 and 2014, almost 1.5 million playground-related injuries were treated in ER departments across America.
  4. In 2020, there were 136,765 nonfatal injuries associated with bikes in kids between zero and 19.
  5. Children between 15 and 19 are the most likely to be injured as pedestrians.

25 Child Injury Statistics and Facts

We’ve compiled 25 childhood injury statistics and facts, including common childhood injuries, causes and risk factors, and traffic-related injuries.

Most Common Childhood Injuries

Most children are injured at some point in childhood, whether through play or accidents. Below are the seven most common childhood injuries.

  1. Falls: A pediatric study found that falls are the most common cause of injury, with 8,000 kids treated in U.S. emergency rooms daily (2). While most children recover quickly, this can also lead to fractures, soft tissue injuries, and head injuries.
  2. Accidental impacts: Accidental impacts, such as walking into a wall, being hit by a falling object, getting bumped into during sports, or getting pinned underneath a fallen appliance, are very common in childhood (3). This can lead to broken bones, difficulty breathing, bleeding, and even loss of consciousness.
  3. Car crashes: Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and accidental deaths in the United States (4). This can lead to head, neck, and back injuries, soft tissue injuries, and broken bones.
  4. Suffocation: Suffocation is a leading cause of both injury and mortality in childhood, especially for children under four (5). This is caused by choking on food, small toys and objects, and unsafe sleeping arrangements.
  5. Poison: Accidentally ingesting harmful substances is a common way that children become injured. This happens when a child takes in harmful medications or household cleaners, or is impacted by a poisonous plant. Symptoms include vomiting, loss of consciousness, and difficulty breathing.
  6. Drowning: Drowning is a leading cause of death and injury in children. In fact, children between one and four can drown in shallow water as low as one inch (6). Children who have experienced near drowning (nonfatal drowning) can suffer from organ failure, brain damage, hypoxia, and hypothermia (7).
  7. Foreign bodies: A foreign body injury involves getting something in your body where it shouldn’t be, such as a splinter or getting something stuck up your nose. This can happen when playing or when kids are too curious!

Important Information

Other common injuries include burns, sporting injuries, biking accidents, strangulation, scrapes, cuts, and bruises.

Causes and Risk Factors

Most kids get hurt at some point in their childhood, especially between the ages of one and four when they aren’t the steadiest. But there are some measures you can take to protect your child. Below are six common causes and risk factors that you can try to avoid.

  1. Single-parent households: The risk of childhood injury gets lower and lower with a higher number of adults in the home (8). For instance, a household with one adult carries a higher risk of childhood injury versus a household with four adults. This is also why having a proper ratio of staff to children in childcare settings is important.
  2. Low socioeconomic status: Injuries, and death from injuries, are higher in low- and middle-income countries (9). Poor children are at notably higher risk.
  3. Unsafe environments: Children who live or play near fast traffic, don’t have access to safe play areas, or live in crowded homes are at higher risk of injury.
  4. Parental supervision: A Chinese study found that parental supervision impacted the risk of childhood injury, especially in children aged four to six and in girls (10). Parents must supervise their children, especially around bodies of water, small toys, food, and in play areas.
  5. Age, race, and gender of child: Injury is most common in boys, babies under one, adolescents between 15 and 19, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Black children (11).
  6. Unsafe driving: Unsafe driving and not properly buckling up your child is a massive risk factor, especially since motor vehicle crashes cause more deaths than other accidental injuries in children.

Child Accidents In the Home and Playground

If you have safety concerns about playgrounds, you’re not alone! We have some critical data to share about injuries that occur in and around the home and in play areas.

  1. Common playground injury causes: Eighty-one percent of common playground injuries include falls or equipment failure (12). Seventy-two percent involve seesaws, slides, swings, or composite play structures.
  2. Emergency Department injuries: Between 2009 and 2014, there were 1,459,201 injuries associated with playground equipment treated in ER departments across America. Sixty-one percent of these injuries occurred at schools or parks. Fourteen percent happened at home. A more recent update claims that more than 200,000 children go to the ER each year with injuries associated with playgrounds (13).
  3. Common playground injuries: Common playground injuries include fractures (36 percent), contusions and abrasions (20 percent), lacerations (17 percent), strains and sprains (12 percent), and internal organ injuries (five percent) (14).
  4. Injury numbers in the home: 3.5 million children go to the emergency department for injuries that happen in homes every year (15).
  5. Medicine and cleaning supplies: Thirty percent of toddler parents keep medicines and cleaning supplies on a low shelf in an unlocked cabinet.
  6. Top causes of nonfatal injuries in the home: According to the number of emergency department visits, the top cause of a nonfatal injury in the home is a fall, with over 1.9 million visits to the ER every year. The next cause is being struck by or bumping against an object, with 1.08 million ER visits. Then it’s a cut or pierce (270,140), fire or burn (93,064), poisoning (47,273), suffocation (20,216), and drowning (3,741).

Traffic-Related Child Injuries

Traffic-related injuries are some of the most common injuries in children. Let’s have a look at six shocking but essential facts.

  1. Number of nonfatal bicycle injuries: In 2020, there were 136,765 nonfatal injuries associated with bikes in children between zero and 19 years old in the U.S. (16). Children between five and 14 are at the highest risk.
  2. Pedestrian injuries: In the U.S., there are an average of 67,124 child pedestrian injuries annually (17). Thirty-six percent of the deaths occur between 3:00 and 7:00 PM when it is darker outside and harder to see.
  3. Pedestrian injury age group: Children between 15 and 19 are the most likely to be injured as a pedestrian, followed by children 10 to 14.
  4. Children injured in car crashes: In 2021, there were 162,298 children injured in traffic crashes (18). An estimated 445 children were injured daily. This was a 17 percent increase from 2020.
  5. Highest risk for car accidents: Drivers between 16 and 17 are at the highest risk for car accidents (19). Teenagers cause more injuries and deaths on the road, including injuring themselves.
  6. Booster seats saved lives: In five states that increased the booster seat age requirement, the rate of children who experienced fatal or incapacitating injuries decreased by 17 percent (20). In general, car seats reduce the risk of injury in a crash by up to 82 percent.

How To Prevent Childhood Injuries

Even children of the most attentive and careful parents can suffer unintentional childhood injuries. However, many childhood injuries are preventable. There are things we can do to prevent childhood injuries from happening, or at least lower the risk of them.

It’s important to teach your child about pedestrian and bicycle safety, reminding them to wear bike helmets and protective padding. You should also teach them the rules of the road so they know when and where to stop, how to wait at traffic lights, and how to avoid getting in the way of other vehicles.

In terms of driving in the car, it’s essential that parents educate themselves on how to use car seats correctly. Most parents make little mistakes when setting up the car seats, but even these small slights can cause injury to children if you were to crash your vehicle. You can contact a local car seat specialist for support.

Other worldwide prevention tips include:

  • Preventing drowning: Never leave your child alone in bodies of water, even shallow baths. Always watch your children at swimming pools, even public ones. Teach your children to swim as soon as possible. Most classes allow babies from six months old.
  • Preventing falls: Remove tripping hazards from the home; never leave your child on a changing table alone; avoid baby walkers if possible; use safety gates at the top and bottom of your stairs.
  • Preventing burns: Keep children away from heaters, radiators, and stoves; don’t leave matches or flammable liquids in reach of children; keep a fire blanket and fire extinguisher in the kitchen; dress your children in non-flammable nightwear.
  • Preventing poisoning: Keep all medicines and household products out of reach; lock cupboards with these items inside; don’t give your child out-of-date medicine; don’t take your medicine in front of children; always double-check with your partner if they have already given your child medicine.
  • Preventing scalds: Don’t leave your child to play in the kitchen; don’t hold your child while you have a hot drink; don’t carry hot drinks while kids are playing on the floor; ensure the bath isn’t any hotter than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Preventing choking: Educate yourself on safe food preparation depending on your child’s age; don’t give your children under three objects that are small enough to fit through a toilet roll tube; check toys for small parts; keep children away from batteries.
  • Prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Place your child on their back to sleep; put them in their own bed with no bumpers, blankets, and stuffed animals; dress them in a cellular swaddle blanket or a sleep sack; don’t fall asleep while holding your infant; don’t let babies sleep on the sofa.
  • First aid: Do a first aid course as soon as possible to educate yourself on safety risks and how to administer first aid.
  • Home safety tips: Keep electric outlets covered; secure heavy furniture to the wall with anchors; lock all cupboards.


At What Age Are Children the Most Frequently Injured?

According to the CDC, between 2018 and 2019, babies under one and children between 15 and 19 had the highest rate of accidental injury deaths. In children under one, the leading cause of death is asphyxiation (21).

Another report found that children under the age of one are the most vulnerable to injury since their muscle and bone development is immature (22). They also don’t have adequate control of neck muscles, so they can block their own airways when they fall asleep and slouch forward in their car seats or bouncers.

A study in the United Kingdom found the median age for moderate and severe injuries was 6.4 years, but infants younger than 36 days were injured the most frequently (23).

Overall, the general research finds that baby accidents are common, with children under one being the most frequently injured.

What Youth Sport Has the Highest Injury Rate?

Football had the highest number of emergency room-treated injuries in 2009 (24). Almost 215,000 kids aged five to 14 were treated for football-related injuries. The next most dangerous sport was bicycling, with more than 200,000 injuries in kids aged five to 14.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a Scottish freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. She is a mum to a young boy, and believes that it truly takes a village. When she’s not parenting, writing about parenting, or working, she can be found reading, working on her novel, taking photos, playing board games or wandering through the countryside with her family.