|Facts on Adolescent Injury
How big is the problem of injuries for U.S. adolescents?
Who is most at risk for injury death?
- At least one adolescent (10-19 years old) dies of an injury every hour of every day; about 15,000 die each year.1
- Injuries kill more adolescents than all diseases combined.2
- For every injury death, there are about 41 injury hospitalizations and 1100 cases treated in emergency departments.2
- Unintentional injury accounts for around 60% of adolescent injury deaths, while violence (homicide and suicide) accounts for the remaining 40%.1
What are the most common types of injuries among adolescents?
- In general, males are more likely than females to die of any type on injury.
- The most pronounced differences between sexes in injury death rates occur within the older adolescent group (15-19 years). In this group, males are about 2.5 times more likely to die of any unintentional injury and 5 times more likely to die of homicide or suicide. The gender difference is most pronounced in drowning, where males are 10.6 times more likely to die than females of the same age.
- Among adolescents 15-19 years old, one in every four deaths is caused by a firearm. For this age group, the risk of dying from a firearm injury has increased by 77% since 1985.3
Does alcohol contribute to adolescent injuries?
- The largest proportion of adolescent injuries are due to motor vehicle crashes.
- Adolescents are far less likely to use seat belts than any other age group.2
- Adolescents are especially vulnerable to fatal crashes at night; they do 20% of their driving at night, but they have more than 50% of their fatalities at night.2
- When adolescents drive after drinking alcohol, they are more likely than adults to be in a crash, even when drinking less alcohol than adults.2
- Adolescents also cause a disproportionate number of deaths among nonadolescent drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.2
- Alcohol is involved in about 35% of adolescent (15-20 years) driver fatalities.
- Alcohol is involved in about 40% of all adolescent drownings.2
- Runyan CW, Gerken EA. Epidemiology and prevention of adolescent injury: a review and research agenda. JAMA 1989;262:16:2273-2278.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Injury mortality: national summary of injury mortality data 1984-1990. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1993.
- Fingerhut LA. Firearm mortality among children, youth, and young adults 1-34 years of age, tends and current status: U.S., 1985-90. Advance Data No. 231. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1993.