Risk Statistics

This was sent in by Julia Toos, a fellow parent at BFS. I had been asking her for it as she has been doing some research.

I was looking up some other fun stuff today, child mortality rates, largely because of the “we can’t let our kids play outside because they’ll be kidnapped and murdered” assumption. Here’s a NYC study on child mortality which seems to have the same results as whatever source I looked up last time. Birth-related injury and birth defects, cancer and cars are far and away the most significant causes of death for children. Fire-related injury and death is also prominent which would lead to the idea that changing the smoke detector batteries would be a better use of our time than lectures on stranger danger.


Murder is not uncommon but is almost exclusively done by family. I was also surprised to see that the highest rate of murder is between ages 1 and 3, not teens as one would commonly believe.

It is possible or even likely that the overwhelming emphasis on keeping children safe from the statistically low risk “stranger danger” is harming children in other ways like raising the risk of diabetes through inactivity.

Coincidentally, I found a book in my shelves this morning that speaks to humans to become extremely fearful of tiny but dramatic risks while ignoring large ones:

Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World by Bruce Schneier

OK, back to work.

Julia Toos

Also of interest is a New York City Child Fatality Report which she sent me. I have not had time to look it over, but I am sharing it anywayLayout 1

You can download the rest at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/episrv/episrv-childfatality-book.pdf.


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