Here you’ll find facts and statistics on all aspects of child safety. This page and its links will shed light on those often invisible tragedies that are happening all around us, helping you better understand just which threats pose the biggest risk to your family.
Child safety facts
Let’s start with a few general safety facts that will give you an overview of the biggest risks.
Fact #1: Parents often focus on unlikely risks
Parents often focus on all the wrong things when it comes to child safety, dwelling on rare, unlikely risks while ignoring far more pertinent concerns. To illustrate this point, let me ask you a simple question: Which do you think is more likely to snatch your child’s life away: sex offenders or soccer field goal posts? Most people think the answer is obvious. They also get it wrong.
There have been a handful of cases in recent years of a known sex offender murdering a child. While horrifying, thankfully these cases are extremely rare, happening no more than once every few years on average. Yet excessive media attention, combined with the routine airing of fictional scripts on drama shows like Law & Order, give parents the impression that these cases are much more common than they actually are. Portable soccer field goal posts, meanwhile, topple over and crush a child at a rate of around 1 or 2 per year. Televisions, hot dogs, car trunks, toy chests, toys, car windows, curtain blinds, candles, grapes, driveways, puddles, and playgrounds–just to name a few–also snatch away more lives each year than any known sex offenders living in your community.
Contrary to popular belief, the playground itself (roughly 2 dozen deaths per year) is much more likely to kill your child than any sex offenders lurking nearby. So while banishing the latter might make parents feel better, a rational person would be more concerned with the goal posts. When parents and communities focus on all the wrong things, not only does it waste a lot of time and money, but it leaves children at greater risk for tragedies that are far more common.
Fact #2: The biggest danger comes from within
Most parents dwell on outside threats, but the biggest risk to your child comes from within: From the people and items closest to you. You and your children are far more likely to be abused or killed by someone close to you than you are by an intruder or someone outside the family. The dangers inside your home are far more likely to harm your child than accidents outside the home (car accidents being the one exception). You and your children are more likely to die at the barrel of your own gun than one belonging to somebody else. Your child is more likely to die from suicide than homicide. And the threat posed to children in cyberspace is a tiny fraction (less than 1/1,000) of the threats they face in everyday life.
The biggest child safety concerns
So what are the biggest risks to your child? Though the statistics fluctuate from year to year, here are the biggest life-threatening risks for children and teens:
- Car accidents (roughly 3.100 deaths per year; around 600 kids 12 and under, and around 2,500 teens.
- Suicide (roughly 2,500-3,000 deaths per year, mostly teens)
- Firearm deaths–combined causes (roughly 3,000 per year)
- Household accidents–combined causes (roughly 2,000 per year, mostly younger children)
- Child abuse homicides (roughly 1,500 per year)
- Drug overdose & alcohol intoxication deaths (Roughly 1,000 deaths per year)
- Water accidents/drowning’s (roughly 1,000 deaths per year)
- SIDS (roughly 960 deaths per year from strangulation & suffication; additionally, another 1,180 from unknown causes, and 1,250 from unknown medical causes)
- House fires (roughly 800-1,0000 deaths per year)
- Choking/suffocation (roughly 875 deaths per year)
- Child pedestrian deaths/getting hit by a car (roughly 600-800 deaths per year)
- Accidental poisoning (roughly several hundred deaths per year)
- Gun accidents (roughly 175 deaths per year, 600-800 injuries)
- Influenza (roughly 100-200 child deaths in an average flu seas
- Falls/kids falling (roughly 100 deaths per year)
- Hot car deaths (roughly 50 per year)
- Televisions crushing kids (roughly 30 deaths per year)
- Stranger abductions (roughly 25 per year)
- Playground accidents (roughly 2 dozen per year)
- Dog mauling’s (roughly 1-2 dozen deaths per year)
- Murders by known sex offenders (fewer than 0.3 per year)
For a closer look at these assorted risks, select from the following topics:
(Many of these links will take you to other areas on our site)
- Child abduction
- Child murder
- Child poisoning
- Home safety statistics
- Fire safety statistics
- Water Safety Statistics
- Car Safety Facts & Statistics
- Car accident statistics
- Causes of car accidents
- DUI and drunk driving statistics
- Teen driving statistics
Guns & Gun violence:
- Gun safety statistics
- Children & gun violence
- Gun crime statistics
- Gun violence facts & statistics
- Women and guns
Weather & natural disasters:
To get some of the stories behind the statistics, or for detailed fact sheets on other niche safety-related topics, visit our sister site TrueChildSafety.com.