Child Injury Prevention
Magnitude of the Problem
Injuries were the 2nd leading cause of death among child (ages infant to 17 years) residents of Hawaii, accounting for about 17% of the total. More children died from injuries from 2014 through 2018 than from congenital anomalies, cancer, or other chronic diseases. If infants are excluded, injuries were by far the leading cause of death among 1 to 17-year-old residents, accounting for nearly (43%) as many deaths as all other causes combined. Most (66%) of the fatal injuries among Hawaii children were unintentional, 21% due to suicide and 11% from homicide. Fatal injury causes differ across the child age range, with suffocation (also including SIDS), homicide, and drowning more prevalent among children under 5, and suicide and motor vehicle crashes predominating among teenagers. An average of 24 children die from injuries each year in Hawaii, but fatalities represent only a small proportion. Each year, 373 resident children are hospitalized from injuries, and another 23,500 are treated in the emergency department. Nearly 2,800 injured children are transported by EMS ambulance to hospitals. If fatal injuries are considered together with those that require a hospitalization of 7 days or longer (46 each year), the age-related causes are largely the same: issues of safe sleep and assault for young children, and suicide and motor vehicle crashes for older children. Despite their prominence as a cause of mortality and morbidity, fatal injury rates for Hawaii’s children (8.6 deaths /100,000) are significantly lower than those for the United States as a whole (12.2/100,000). Hawaii had the 8th lowest child injury fatality rate among the 50 States over the 2014 through 2017 period. Hawaii rates for fatal unintentional injuries, and violence-related (homicides and suicides) were also significantly lower, by 28% and 31%, respectively, compared to the nation.
The EMSIPSB places a priority on having injury prevention strategies recommended by a community-driven action plan or informed by key implementing partners. Because a multitude of factors influence individual behavior, the strategies in the below table are framed across the individual, relationship, community, and policy levels.