Health Department: Car Crashes Remain Leading Injury Killer of NYC Kids

The blue line represents the total number of children killed by motorists. The brown, orange and peach lines line represent non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic white, and Hispanic victims, respectively. Graph: DOH
The blue line represents the total number of children killed by New York City motorists. The brown, orange and peach lines line represent black, white, and Latino victims, respectively. Graph: DOH

Fewer New York City children are dying in traffic, but car crashes continue to be the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among kids ages 1 to 12, according to an annual child mortality report issued by the Department of Health [PDF].

New York City motorists killed 44 children between 2009 and 2013, according to the DOH. That’s a decrease from 67 deaths between 2004 and 2008. Fires were the second leading cause of unintentional child injury death during the latest reporting period, with 16 fatalities between 2009 and 2013.

The report distinguishes between “unintentional” injury deaths and deaths that were classified as homicides and suicides.

The decline in deaths caused by motor vehicle collisions occurred mainly among black children, the DOH reports. However, disparities probably remain. The report doesn’t spell out per capita traffic fatality rates by race or income, but kids living in the poorest neighborhoods are more likely to suffer unintentional fatal injuries, and the fatal injury rate among black children is higher than among white, Asian, or Latino children:


The 2015 child mortality report focused on traffic deaths and included a list of recommendations to make streets safer for kids, including expanding the city’s speed camera program. This year the DOH kept its traffic safety recommendations to two bullet points: one suggesting that officials “[p]romote policy and program initiatives for safer streets, such as street re-designs and focused enforcement to deter hazardous driving,” and another advising parents to be “role models for safe walking.”


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