Objective. Inadequate supervision of children has contributed to injuries. However, the association of inadequate supervision with injury events in children has not been quantified. The purpose of this study was to describe and quantify the role of inadequate supervision of children in injury deaths.
Methods. Injury deaths among children aged 0 to 6 years in Alaska during 1993 to 1995 and Louisiana during 1994 were classified using 10 child safety standards to assess the role of parent/caregiver supervision in the circumstances of injury death.
Results. The leading categories of injury death for both states combined were motor vehicle injury and fire-related injury. Of the classifiable injury deaths in both states (157 [77%] of 203 deaths), the most commonly violated safety standard was “children should be supervised by a responsible care provider” (64 deaths [41%]). Of these deaths, the caregiver was absent in 38%, and the caregiver increased the danger to the child in 17%. Male injury deaths more typically involved a supervision standard violation. Drowning and pedestrian deaths typically involved a supervision standard violation, whereas asphyxiation, homicide, and occupant motor vehicle injury deaths did not.
Conclusion. Alaska and Louisiana child injury deaths were mostly attributed to preventable violations of 10 child safety standards, most commonly the supervision standard. The methods in this report were useful in identifying target populations and causes of death, which can be used to plan and implement interventions to improve supervision of children.