If you watched the ad by Nationwide in the Super Bowl, it claimed that
accidents are the leading cause of death among children. As a parent,
this fact, if it is one, is incredibly frightening. What’s interesting
is that the truth isn’t as clear as the ad suggests, and some have
reported that birth injuries are actually the highest leading cause of
death for children, depending on when the term “child” is applied.

The 45-second commercial aired in Ohio and around the country claimed that
preventable accidents are the number one cause of childhood deaths. Fact-checkers
were interested in whether or not this statement was true, and so statistics
emerged. You may be interested to know that for infants, those under 1-year-old,
birth defects — these could be congenital anomalies caused by medical
care or through the natural course of pregnancy and birth — were
actually the leading cause of death. Those birth defects resulted in 4,758
deaths in 2013, while unintentional injuries resulted in only 1,156.

The fact still remains that from 1-year-old children to 14-year-old children,
the most common cause of death is accidents. If you include infants in
the numbers, then the statistics show that the “fact” isn’t
factual at all. What’s also interesting is that once a child reaches
his mid-to-late teens, the rate of death caused from any birth defects
he has starts to drop significantly.

That combined with the number of accidental deaths rising between the ages
of 15 to 19 may have skewed the numbers for the ad. Overall, for older
children, accidents are more likely to cause death, but birth defects
and injuries are still high on the list.