Injury is the leading cause of death among children (except infants under one year) and adolescents both nationwide and in Arizona. Injury surpasses all major diseases as the cause of premature mortality among preschoolers 1-4 years old, children 5-9 years old, children aged 10-14 and adolescents 15-19 years of age (Table 1).
Between 1986 and 1996 injuries caused seven out of every ten deaths (67.9 percent, or 4,340 fatal injuries among 6,397 total deaths of Arizonans 1-19 years old. Unintentional injuries accounted for 2.2 times as many deaths, as homicides and suicides combined (Figure 1).
During 1996, Arizona children and adolescents have been at greater risk for injury deaths compared to their national peers (Figure 2, Table 3).
Compared to the national rates of injury mortality, the 1996 injury death rates were 35 percent higher for Arizona children under five, 26.5 percent higher for children five to nine years old, 31.7 percent higher for children 10-14 years old, and 27.1 percent higher for adolescents 15-19 years old.
However, compared to the average annual rate of injury mortality between 1980 and 1989, the 1996 death rates for injuries were lower for Arizona infants, preschoolers, and children five to nine years old. In contrast, the 1996 injury death rate for children ten to fourteen years old differed little from the 1980-89 rate. Among adolescents 15-19 years old, their 1996 injury death rates exceeded the average annual rate calculated for the ten-year period from 1980 to 1989 (Figure 3, Table 1).
Among age groups (Table 1), children 5-9 years old had the lowest 1996 rate of injury death (12.4 fatalities per 100,000 Arizona children in this age group), followed by children 10-14 years of age (19.1/100,000), infants (37.3/ 100,000) and preschoolers 1-4 years old (27.8/ 100,000), while the rate was 7.6 times as high for adolescents 15 to 19 years of age (93.8/100,000) compared to children 5-9 years old.
Motor vehicle collisions
and drowning are the two major events, which lead to an unintentional injury death for children and adolescents (Figure 4, Table 4). Motor vehicle crashes fatally injured 203 Arizona infants, children and adolescents in 1996.
Among children younger than 15 years old who were victims of vehicular injuries in 1996 six out of ten were occupants of motor vehicles (49 out of 89 fatalities, Table 12 and Table 13, Table 14, Table 15, Table 16), three out of ten were pedestrians and one out of ten was riding a bicycle
Among adolescent motor vehicle fatalities, six out of ten were passengers in motor vehicles (69 out of 114, Table 12 and Table 17), two out of ten were driving a car or a motorcycle (27 among 114) and two out of ten were either a pedestrian (16 fatalities) or riding a bicycle (3 fatalities). Unintentional injuries not related to motor vehicles accounted for 19.7 percent of the total mortality of adolescents in 1996.
The third leading event responsible for an unintentional injury death differed according to age group (Table 4). In Arizona in 1996, it was suffocation (aspiration of food or other foreign object or mechanical suffocation) among infants and children 5 to 9 years old, burning by fire among preschoolers one to four years old, firearms among children 10 to 14 years old, and drug misuse among adolescents 15-19 years old.
Black infants and American Indian children and adolescents had the highest rates of injury death among ethnic groups in 1996. (Figure 5, Figure 6, Figure 7, Table 20).
Among children 1-14 years old, American Indian residents of Arizona in 1996 were at least 3.7 times more likely than Blacks and non-Hispanic whites to be victims of a fatal injury (Figure 6, Figure 7, Table 20).
Between 1995 and 1996, the homicide rate among teenagers 15-19 years old decreased by 26.9 percent from 33.4/100,000 in 1995 to 24.4/100,000 in 1996 (Figure 8, Table 1) Despite this decline, the 1996 homicide rate was 2.4 times higher than average annual rate calculated for 1980-1989. Fifty-seven of these fatalities in 1996 were attributed to firearms, 4.2 times as many as in 1987. During 1996, Black adolescents were 10.8 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites to be murdered (87.1/100,000 vs.8.1/100,000; Figure 7, Table 20).
The rate of suicide fatalities among adolescents 15-19 years old decreased for the second consecutive year, from 23.7/100,000 in 1994 to 18.7/100,000 in 1995, and 18.2/100,000 in (Table 1). During 1996, American Indian teenagers were 4 times more likely than Blacks to end their own lives (31.9/100,000 vs. 8/100,000; Figure 7, Table 20).
Public Health Services
Office of Health Planning, Evaluation and Statistics (OHPES)
Arizona Center for Health Statistics
Phone: 602/542-7333; FAX: 602/542-1244