CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVE Analysis on accidents from the perspective of population segments shows there is higher incidence among children, adolescents and young adults. Since the characteristics and circunstances of the event are closely related to educational, economic, social and cultural issues, identifying them may contribute towards minimizing the causes, which are often fatal. The aim here was to identify the environmental, chemical, biological and cultural factors associated with deaths due to accidents among children, adolescents and young adults in Cuiabá, in 2009. DESIGN AND SETTING This was a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, Brazil. RESULTS Thirty-nine accidental deaths of individuals aged 0 to 24 years were examined: 56.4% due to traffic accidents; 25.6%, drowning; 10.3%, aspiration of milk; 5.1%, falls; and 2.6%, accidentally triggering a firearm. Male victims predominated (82.1%). The presence of chemical, environmental and biological risk factors was observed in almost all of the homes. Regarding cultural factors and habits, a large proportion of the families had no idea whether accidents were foreseeable events and others did not believe that the family's habits might favor their occurrence. Delegation of household chores or care of younger siblings to children under the age of 10 was common among the families studied. CONCLUSION The results point towards the need to have safe and healthy behavioral patterns and environments, and to monitor occurrences of accidents, thereby structuring and consolidating the attendance provided for victims.
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