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Public Health - Seattle & King County

Injuries, a Public Health concern

Injuries are common. We hear about injuries on the news and in our communities and some of us will suffer a serious injury at least once in our lives. Often, people say "accident" when they talk about injuries, but in fact, we can predict and therefore prevent most serious injuries.

Injuries remain a leading cause of death for Americans of all ages, regardless of gender, race, or economic status. In 2009 (most recent data), 177,154 people in the United States died from injuries. Almost 30 million others suffered a serious, non-fatal injury that year.
...Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Vital Statistics System, May 2012

In both King County and Washington State, injuries kill more people between the ages of 1 and 44 than any other cause of death. Additionally, people between the ages of 5 to 44 and over 85 are hospitalized more for injuries than for any other (non-childbirth) reason.

Despite the significant burden injuries pose on people and society, injuries remain one of the most overlooked preventable public health problems of our time.

For the years 2007-2009 the injury rate in Washington state was the 34th highest in the nation.
...Trust for America's Health, May 2012

Types of injuries

Injury prevention specialists classify injuries as unintentional, intentional or intent unknown.

Car crashes, falls, drownings, poisonings, and burns are generally classified as unintentional injuries. The most common intentional injuries are homicides, suicides, and assaults.

In 2010, 3,837 people in Washington state died from an injury, a rate of 57.0 per 100,000 population. Of these deaths:

  • 67.5% were unintentional
  • 29.3% were intentional
  • 3.2% were "other" or "unknown"

In King County, 883 people died from an injury in 2010, a rate of 45.7 per 100,000 population.