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.