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Kids Safer on the Subway

6.8 deaths per 100,000 children between one and three years old, versus 3.5 deaths per 100,000 10- to 12-year-olds.
4.6 deaths per 100,000 boys, versus 3.6 per 100,000 girls.
6.6 deaths per 100,000 non-Hispanic black children, versus 3.4 per 100,000 non-Hispanic white children and 3.3 per 100,000 Hispanic children.
5.2 deaths per 100,000 children in the lowest-income neighborhoods, versus 2.3 per 100,000 in the highest-income neighborhoods.

Kids in NYC are safer than others around the United States because they ride public transit more. Photo via Susan NYC.

Kids in NYC are safer than others around the United States because they ride public transit more. Photo via Susan NYC.

Traffic accidents are the leading cause of fatal injuries for children one to twelve years old in the United States.

In New York City, where kids rely much more on public transit, they die in traffic accidents at less than one-third the national rate according to a new report from the New York City Department of Health. Injury deaths for children in NYC are about half the national average.

According to the report, between 2001 and 2008, the national rate was 8.9 injury deaths per 100,000 children. In New York, the city recorded 4.2 injury deaths per 100,000. (Injury deaths were still the highest cause of death among children one to twelve, at 29 percent.)

Still, there were disparities across the city: children in low-income communities were more likely to die of injuries, and younger children and boys were more likely to be affected.

  • 6.8 deaths per 100,000 children between one and three years old, versus 3.5 deaths per 100,000 10- to 12-year-olds.
  • 4.6 deaths per 100,000 boys, versus 3.6 per 100,000 girls.
  • 6.6 deaths per 100,000 non-Hispanic black children, versus 3.4 per 100,000 non-Hispanic white children and 3.3 per 100,000 Hispanic children.
  • 5.2 deaths per 100,000 children in the lowest-income neighborhoods, versus 2.3 per 100,000 in the highest-income neighborhoods.

The child fatality rate for impoverished neighborhoods is more than double that of high-income neighborhoods. And neighborhood factors such as access to secure public transit are in part responsible for this.

As New York eliminates bus and subway routes, this study reveals the likely public health implications for poorer communities where sparse public transit is being cut further.

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