Health Department Releases Report Detailing Patterns of Child Injury Deaths in New York City

Injury death rates are highest among boys, Black children and children living in high-poverty neighborhoods

The report, authored by the Child Fatality Review Advisory Team, is a collaborative effort between City agencies and experts

April 14, 2017 — The Health Department, in its role as chair of the New York City Child Fatality Review Advisory Team, today released its annual report on child injury deaths. This year’s report covers a five-year period, from 2010 to 2014, with a special focus on how patterns differ as children age. On average, 39 children aged 1 to 12 years old die from injuries each year, including unintentional injuries, homicides and suicides. About half of child injury deaths were unintentional, from causes such as traffic crashes or fires. The report, created by the multidisciplinary committee of representatives from City agencies, as well as child welfare and medical experts, can be found at nyc.gov/health.

“While deaths among children are rare in New York City, any death of a child is a tragedy,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “The continued excess rates in communities of color and among children living in poverty are unacceptable. The Health Department, along with our sister agencies, will continue efforts to create safer homes and safer communities for children in our city.”

According to the report, Black children, boys and children living in very high poverty neighborhoods have higher injury death rates (6.6, 3.8 and 4.8 deaths per 100,000, respectively) when compared with other groups. Motor vehicle-related injuries are the leading cause of unintentional injury death among children aged 1 to 12 years old, with 80 percent occurring when a child pedestrian was struck by a motor vehicle.

Patterns of fatal injury change as children grow older. For example, of the 61 homicides among children, 29 (48 percent) were among 1 and 2 years olds. A small, but concerning, number of suicides (13) also occurred among children aged 9 to 12 years old.

The annual child injury death report is authored by the Health Department and the Child Fatality Review Advisory Team, a multidisciplinary committee of representatives from City agencies, as well as child welfare and medical experts appointed by the Mayor, the City Council Speaker and the Public Advocate. The Child Fatality Review Advisory Team was formed in 2006 as mandated by Local Law 115 of 2005 to review and report on injuries as preventable causes of death among NYC children under the age of 13.

To reduce the risk of intentional injury deaths, the City has invested in programs to ensure children and parents have access to mental health services. The Department of Education’s School-Based Mental Health Program offers a range of services to students who have emotional and behavioral difficulties in City schools. On-site services, mobile response teams, and trainings provide comprehensive support to children and adolescents.

About Growing Up NYC
The Growing Up NYC tool is a resource for parents and caregivers. It serves as a one-stop shop for City resources, including health, education, child development and safety and recreation. The tool is a mobile-first digital platform that is accessible via smart phone, tablet or computer, providing content for children ages 0 to 12 years old. Users have the opportunity to refine content to meet the specific ages, needs and interests of the children in their family.

About ThriveNYC
Led by First Lady Chirlane McCray, ThriveNYC is an unprecedented strategy and set of 54 initiatives to approach mental health as a comprehensive public health challenge involving many City agencies. ThriveNYC aims to change the conversation, eliminate the stigma surrounding addiction and mental illness and provide greater access to mental health care for children and adults. For more information on ThriveNYC, visit nyc.gov/thrivenyc.

About Vision Zero
Mayor Bill de Blasio initiated Vision Zero in 2014. Under the plan, New York City has seen declines in traffic fatalities for three successive years, with fatalities down 23 percent since before Vision Zero, bucking national trends. In 2016, Mayor de Blasio announced initiatives specifically aimed at protecting children, including more speed cameras near schools and a new intensive safety-education curriculum for elementary and middle schools developed in collaboration with the Department of Education. That new curriculum for fourth to sixth graders, called Cross This Way, is reaching 300,000 students per year, helping meet the report’s recommendations that children be taught to cross the street safely at crosswalks, follow pedestrian and traffic signals and look both ways before crossing the street. By the end of 2016, New York City had seen three fatalities of school-age children for the entire year; while this is still too many, it is less than half the previous record low total. In January 2017, Mayor de Blasio announced that New York City would make an additional $400 million investment in Vision Zero — for a total of $1.6 billion over the next five years.

###

#023-17

MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Julien Martinez, (347) 396-4177
PressOffice@health.nyc.gov