Australian Bureau of Statistics
4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 1996
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/06/1996
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Mortality and Morbidity: Accidental death of children
In 1994, 13% of child deaths were caused by accidents. However, this proportion appears low due to the relatively large numbers of perinatal deaths and deaths due to congenital anomalies among children in their first year of life. Among children aged 1-14, accidents were the leading cause of death, accounting for one-third of all deaths in this age group. In comparison 3% of deaths among adults were accidental.
Between 1984 and 1994, 4,724 children died as a result of accidents. The death rate from accidents among children fell from 13 to 8 per 100,000 children over the period. This decrease was largest among children aged 0-4. In this age group the death rate due to accidents fell from 19 to 11 deaths per 100,000 children. This is mainly due to decreases in the number of children aged 0-4 dying from motor vehicle traffic accidents and from accidents involving submersion, suffocation and foreign bodies. These decreases are probably linked to the introduction of legislation on the use of baby capsules in cars, as well as laws in most states and territories making fencing around swimming pools compulsory.
SELECTED CAUSES OF DEATH OF CHILDREN, 1994
ACCIDENTAL DEATHS PER 100,000 CHILDREN
Sources: Causes of Death, Australia (unpublished data); Estimated Resident Population, by Sex and Age, States and Territories of Australia (cat. no. 3201.0)
In 1994, almost half (48%) of all children who died from accidents were aged 0-4. This was followed by those aged 10-14, who made up 28% of all accidental deaths. The majority of children who died from accidents were boys (61%). This was true for all age groups and most types of accidents.
Between 1992 and 1994, child accidental deaths were most common in the Northern Territory with an average annual rate of 23 per 100,000 children. This high rate is mainly due to the number of deaths caused by submersion, suffocation and foreign bodies. The next highest rate was 12 deaths per 100,000 children in Queensland. Victoria had the lowest death rate from accidents at 7 per 100,000 children. In every state and territory children under 5 were the most likely to die from an accident.
CHILD ACCIDENTAL DEATH RATE(a), 1992-1994
(b) Refers to state/territory of registration.
Sources: Causes of Death, Australia (unpublished data); Estimated Resident Population by Sex and Age, States and Territories of Australia (cat. no. 3201.0)
Type of accidental death
Motor vehicle traffic accidents are the most common cause of all accidental deaths in Australia (see Motor vehicle traffic accidents). In 1994, 127 children were killed in motor vehicle traffic accidents, accounting for 44% of all child accidental deaths. 32% of these children were killed in accidents involving a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, 27% were killed in accidents involving two motor vehicles and 11% were killed in accidents involving a motor vehicle and another vehicle, such as a bicycle.
Children killed in accidents involving a motor vehicle and a pedestrian were most likely to be aged 10-14 (39%). This was followed by those aged 5-9 (37%). Children killed in accidents involving two motor vehicles were most likely to be aged 0-4 (50%).
The second most common cause of accidental deaths among children was submersion, suffocation and foreign bodies. In 1994, 84 children died from accidents caused by submersion, suffocation and foreign bodies, accounting for 29% of child accidental deaths. 76% of these deaths were due to drowning. 75% of children who died from drowning were aged 0-4. The death rate for drowning among children has decreased over the past decade, from 2.5 deaths per 100,000 children in 1984 to 1.7 deaths in 1994. This decrease was largest among those aged 0-4, from 5.7 in 1984 to 3.7 in 1994.
In 1994, the majority of child deaths due to drowning occurred when a child fell or wandered into water (58%). 62% of child deaths from falling or wandering into water occurred in a swimming pool, and 24% occurred in a lake, lagoon, dam or water-hole.
The second most common type of death from drowning occurred when a child was swimming, paddling or wading (27%). 47% of child deaths from swimming, paddling or wading occurred in a lake, lagoon, dam or water-hole, and 35% occurred in a swimming pool.
ACCIDENTAL DEATHS OF CHILDREN, 1994
Source: Causes of Death, Australia (unpublished data)
CHILD DEATHS FROM DROWNING OR SUBMERSION, 1994
1 Department of Human Services and Health and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (1994) Injury prevention and control in Australia: a review of current programs and activities.
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