Childhood Injury in Wisconsin

State of Children's Health in Wisconsin

Childhood Injury in Wisconsin

What is the definition?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines injury as “unintentional or intentional damage to the body resulting from acute exposure to thermal, mechanical, electrical, or chemical energy or from the absence of such essentials as heat or oxygen.”

Unintentional injuries are those that are not caused on purpose (such as falls or motor vehicle crashes), whereas intentional injuries are the result of an intention to cause harm (such as homicide or suicide). Although unintentional injuries are also sometime referred to as accidents, it is important to remember that both unintentional injuries and intentional injuries are often preventable.

Taken from

How many children are affected?

In 2010, among children age 1–17 years1

  • Unintentional injuries were the leading cause of death among Wisconsin children
  • 127 injury-related deaths occurred among Wisconsin children
  • 3,239 injury-related hospitalizations occurred in Wisconsin
  • 110,260 injury-related emergency department visits occurred in Wisconsin

Rate of Injury Deaths Among Children 1-17 Years Old

  1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
Wisconsin 15.53 16.91 13.71 15.34 15.36 13.78 15.93 11.89
United States 16.32 15.69 15.06 15.12 14.40 14.77 14.21 13.87

Causes of Death Among Wisconsin Children Age 1-17 (2006-10)

Unintentional injuries 39
Intentional injuries 15
Malignant neoplasm 10
Congenital malformation 7
All other causes 29

Leading Causes of Death Among Wisconsin Children Age 1-17 (2006-10) 

Suffocation 13
Motor vehicle crash 28
Firearms 14
Poisoning 6
Drowning 9
Burns 4
All other causes 26

Snapshot of Behavioral Risk Factors for Unintentional Injury among Wisconsin Children

Unintentional Injury Risk Behaviors3


Percent Wisconsin high school students who self-reported that they rarely or never wore a bicycle helmet during the past 12 months**


Wisconsin high school students who self-reported that over the past 30 days they rode at least 1 time with a driver who had been drinking alcohol


Snapshot of Risk Factors for Intentional Injury among Children, Wisconsin and Nationally

Intentional Injury Risk Behaviors4

Rate per 1,000 Children, Wisconsin

Rate per 1,000 Children, Nationally

Children confirmed by child protective services as victims of maltreatment



Snapshot of Disparities in Behavioral Risk Factors for Injury among Wisconsin Children5

Based on 2008 Wisconsin data, differences in infant bed-sharing were seen based on maternal income and education levels:

  • Infants born to mothers with a lower income (less than $10,000) versus a higher income (at least $50,000) were more likely to bed-share (33.2 percent versus 13.0 percent)
  • Infants born to mothers with less than 12 years education versus greater than 12 years education were more likely to bed-share (32.7 percent versus and 16.5 percent)

What are strategies to help?

Solutions for reducing childhood injury in Wisconsin focus on recognizing and avoiding behaviors that lead to the root causes of these injuries. Injury prevention strategies should recognize a child’s stage of development and environment, and these strategies should involve parents, caregivers, and children themselves.

The following are possible injury prevention strategies based on development:

  • Infant/toddler: Using car seats and following safe sleep strategies, such as placing a baby on his/her back to sleep, in a crib, and alone (with no other items)
  • Early school age: Using car booster seats and teaching pedestrian and bicycle safety, including always wearing a bicycle helmet
  • Adolescence: Practicing safe driving behavior, such as never texting or drinking and driving and always wearing a seat belt

The following are examples of possible injury prevention strategies based on environment:

  • Home: Having functional smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  • School: Creating safe routes to school and preventing bullying
  • Play: Wearing a bicycle helmet and supervising children in and around water

These are just a few strategies to help prevent injuries. Learn more at:

Laws and statutes can also have an important role helping prevent childhood injuries.

Snapshot of Childhood Injury Prevention Policies6, 7

Policy Description

Number of States* with Such a Policy

Wisconsin has a Policy

Has a state law requiring the use of a bicycle helmet among children (age ranges may differ)



Has a state law requiring the safe storage of firearms




  1. WISH
  2. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System
  3. 2011 (**2007) YRBS
  4. Annie E. Casey Foundation, KIDS COUNT Data Center
  5. 2008 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System