Childhood injury epidemiologists and injury control researchers commonly use a forty-year-old epidemiologic agent-host-environment model to explain injuries and have not considered the value of placing childhood injuries in the context of general theories of human development. The psychosocial
stages elucidated by Erik H. Erikson may be a useful heuristic approach for childhood injury investigators to consider. Examples of common childhood injuries during the first four psychosocial stages, trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame and doubt, initiative vs. guilt and industry vs inferiority
are presented to illustrate how Erikson's theory may be of value in understanding and controlling the prevalence of childhood injuries in the United States.