Car crashes were the leading cause of death for 15- to 19-year-olds between 2001 and 2020. That said, car crashes killed 50% fewer teens in 2020 compared to 2001.
Many—if not most—first-time drivers fall into this age group. Make sure your teen understands the enormous responsibility of driving safely before they get their driver’s license.
Suicide claims the third-most lives in this age group. Firearms are used in most (nearly 45%) of those deaths. Continue to check in with your teen about emotions, bullying, and life in general.
And use a gun safe—suicide attempts involving guns are almost always fatal (85%). It’s true that a suicidal person may attempt another method if there’s no gun around—but it’s easier to revive someone from any other self-inflicted injury if they get immediate attention. That’s not true with gunshot wounds.6
It’s not a fun topic, but it’s critical to understand if you have guns in your home.
Poisoning represents a significant cause of unintentional injury-related deaths (nearly 14%) in this age group. Around 47% of such poisonings between 2001 and 2020 were accidental narcotic or hallucinogen overdoses.
The number of poisoning deaths among 15- to 19-year-olds more than tripled between 2001 and 2020, and the number of poisoning deaths attributed to narcotics or hallucinogens more than quadrupled.
Put another way, accidental poisonings accounted for just over 6% of all unintentional injury deaths among teens aged 15 to 19 in 2001. By 2020, accidental poisonings accounted for 30% of all unintentional injury deaths in this age group.
Addiction experts say one of the most important things you can do as a parent is to have open, honest conversations about the consequences of drug use.7 Learn what drug use looks like and don’t hesitate to get help for your teen.
This is the only age group where falling isn’t the leading cause of nonfatal emergency department visits—it’s second to unintentional struck by/against injuries.
This category doesn’t include car accidents, machinery accidents, or assaults but does include getting hit by falling, swinging, flying, or rolling objects—which can happen at home, on the sports field, or at work.
Encourage your teen to learn and follow all safety protocols when they start their first job, play sports, or help out around the house.