Preventable childhood injuries and deaths are a major public health problem in the United States. In 2000, the most recent year for which mortality data are available, over 10,000 children from birth to age 18 died from unintentional injuries in the United States and nearly 3,000 from the same age group died from homicide or suicide. According to the Childhood Injury Fact Sheet produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children one to 21 years of age.”
Preventing child fatalities requires further understanding of the causes and circumstances surrounding child deaths. One mechanism for doing this is multidisciplinary child fatality review teams. These teams exist at the state and local level and perform the functions of identifying, reviewing, and recommending preventive measures to reduce the number of preventable child deaths and life-threatening injuries.