The Leading Causes of Injury for Infants, Children, and Adolescents

No parent wants their child to get injured, so it’s important to understand what type of injuries your child is most prone to. Falls are the most common injury for children of all ages (a risk that fades away as we age and then increases again in later adulthood), but younger children and babies are more prone to falls. Besides falls, here are the most common injuries for infants, children, and adolescents.

Common Infant Injuries

Because babies and toddlers are most prone to falls, this is the most common injury for this age group. Newborns are prone to falls that may be the result of a caregiver’s negligence, such as falling from a changing table or out of their cribs. On the other hand, babies and toddlers are becoming increasingly mobile but aren’t yet masters of their mobility. This leads to them possibly climbing on and falling from things like stairs, tables, etc., and why baby gates and supervision are required.

Another common injury for this age group is a foreign body, meaning that an object has become trapped in the baby’s throat, ear, stomach, or soft tissues. Babies and toddlers are curious beings, so they’re bound to put something where it doesn’t belong. And while some objects can fall out the ears or pass through the gastrointestinal tract on their own, many others cannot and result in a serious medical issue.

Common Childhood Injuries

Both young children (aged 3 to 6) and older children (aged 7 to 10) are prone to falls as well. These falls are usually from playground equipment and aren’t too serious— as long as the children are playing on developmentally appropriate equipment. For example, a three-year-old shouldn’t play on equipment intended for older elementary school-aged kids. Impact injuries, such as running into each other while playing sports and other games, are also common among this age group.

Cuts and scrapes are also pretty common in this age group, as children are becoming increasingly active and may not have a fully developed sense of safety. The good news is that most cuts and scrapes children receive are minor, such as those sustained when falling off a bicycle. Still, children must wear protective gear (helmets, knee pads, etc.) that are appropriate for the activities they’re engaging in.

Finally, children in this age group are also more prone to insect stings and animal bites than any other age group. This is likely because this age group typically spends more time outside, coupled with their intense curiosity about their world. They may not yet know that certain insects sting or when a dog isn’t too friendly.

Common Adolescent Injuries

Adolescence starts around age 11 and lasts until adulthood. Because this is the age (specifically 16 to 19) where teens are beginning to drive and ride with friends, their leading cause of injury is car accidents (this includes any type of motor vehicle, including ATVs). The reason this age group is more prone to motor vehicle accident injuries is that they have less experience driving, and this makes them especially at risk for accidents during the first few months after receiving their license. 

Other common injuries for this age group are sports-related injuries. It’s harder to protect this age group from injuries because they’re older and more active, so it’s important to teach them the importance of safety starting from a young age.

Other Age Groups and Injuries

The risk of injury is present at every age, including both adulthood and before or during birth. When it comes to prenatal and birth injuries, some of the most common injuries include:

  • Asphyxiation (umbilical cord wrapped around the neck)
  • Brachial plexus
  • Cerebral palsy/brain bleeds
  • Facial paralysis
  • Spinal cord injuries

It is the responsibility of the medical team and the medical facility to ensure that the infant is delivered safely and without injury. When this doesn’t happen, you can call a medical malpractice attorney or birth injury attorney since the injury is a result of the medical team’s and/or facility’s negligence. In fact, many of the leading causes of injuries for adults (of all ages) are a result of another party’s negligence.

It’s important to teach your children about safety as early as possible and to supervise them appropriately, depending on their age and activity level. Birth injuries can be a little harder to prevent since you’re not fully in control. Make sure to find a doctor who knows when an emergency cesarean section is needed since this is the main reason that can lead to a birth injury.

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