Unintentional Injuries

Unintentional Injuries
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 Natural Disaster

Injuries are commonly classified based on “intentionality”. Unintentional injuries are harmful acts that occurred without any intention of causing damage to oneself or others. Road traffic accidents, drowning, fires and burns, falls, and poisoning are the five major causes of unintentional injuries.

Global situation

  • Each year About 5.8 million people die as a result of injuries. This accounts for 10% of the world’s deaths, 32% more than the number of fatalities that result from malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS combined.
  • For adolescents and young adults Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death.
  • Worldwide, unintentional injuries accounted for more than 3.5 million deaths in 2001, or about 6% of all deaths and 66% of all injury deaths.
  • Unintentional injuries were responsible for more than 113 million DALYs .
  • More than 90% of unintentional injury deaths occurred in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).
  • Males accounted for almost two-thirds of the deaths attributed to unintentional injuries in LMICs in 2001.
  • Among young people, Motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) account for one third of mortality.


Unintentional Injuries

Top five causes of Unintentional injuries

According to a report from the World Health Organization, nearly a million children worldwide die every year as a result of unintentional injuries, and the biggest killer is traffic accidents.

  • Road crashes: Kill 260,000 children a year and injure about 10 million. They are the leading cause of death among youths ages 10 to 19, and a leading cause of child disability.
  • Drowning: Kills more than 175,000 children annually. Each year about 3 million children survive a drowning. Due to brain damage in some survivors, nonfatal drowning has the highest average lifetime health and economic impact of any type of injury.
  • Burns: Nearly 96,000 children die each year by fire-related burns, and the death rate is 11 times higher in low and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.
  • Falls: Every year about 47,000 children fall to their deaths, but hundreds of thousands more sustain less serious injuries from a fall.
  • Poisoning: More than 45,000 children die each year from unintended poisoning.


Prevention of unintentional injuries

  • Supervise all children’s activities, especially those around water, such as bathing or swimming.
  • Install safety devices in your home, such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, handrails, and fire extinguishers.
  • Maintain heating equipment, and unplug extra heaters when sleeping.
  • Set your water heater thermostat to 120°F (49°C) or below to prevent scald burns.
  • Wear appropriate safety equipments at home, work, or play.
  • Always insist that all passengers are wearing seat belts, and that children are restrained in car seats properly.
  • Make sure children up to 12 years of age are always seated in the rear seat.
  • Read and understand the labels on medicines and food products.
  • Keep a well-stocked, first-aid kit at home, work, and in the car.



  1. National Adolescent and Young Adult Health Information Center
  2. World Health Organization
  3. NPR
  4. National Center for Biotechnology Information, –National Library of Medicine
  5. The Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Medicine
  6. Centers of Diseases Control and Prevention