Background Childhood injuries are a major public health problem worldwide, injuries being the leading cause of death and disability from early childhood through adolescence.
Objective To examine the 40-year nationwide trends in the number and incidence of fatal injuries among children aged 0–14 years in Finland, a country with a white European population of 5.3 million.
Methods Data were obtained from the Official Cause-of-Death Statistics of Finland during 1971–2010. The main categories for unintentional injury deaths were road traffic injury, water traffic injury, falls, drowning and poisoning. For intentional injury deaths, the main categories were suicide and homicide.
Results In 1971, there were 109 fatal injuries involving girls and 207 involving boys, and in 2010, these numbers were 10 and 16. The corresponding incidence rates (per 100 000 children per year) were 20.1 and 2.3 (girls), and 36.7 and 3.5 (boys). The reduction in fatal injuries was mostly due to fewer unintentional injuries. The greatest decline occurred in the number of fatal motor vehicle injuries: from 57 (girls) and 92 (boys) in 1971 to 5 (girls) and 2 (boys) in 2010. Drownings followed a similar pattern. Violence-related deaths also showed a decreasing trend. In 1971, there were 14 intentional deaths in girls and 15 in boys, while in 2010 these numbers were 0 and 3, respectively.
Conclusions This nationwide study confirms a decline in childhood injury deaths over the last four decades, with the greatest declines occurring in the number of fatal motor vehicle injuries, drownings and intentional injuries.
- Fatal injury
- time trend
- sports/leisure facility
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Funding This study was financially supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and the Medical Research Fund of Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland. The funding sources had no involvement with the progress of study.
Competing interests We declare that all authors had: (1) no financial support for the submitted work from anyone other than their employer; (2) no financial relationships with commercial entities that might have an interest in the submitted work; (3) no spouses, partners or children with relationships with commercial entities that might have an interest in the submitted work; (4) no non-financial interests that may be relevant to the submitted work.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.