All pediatric trauma deaths occurring in metropolitan Toronto (population, 2.2 million) in 1986 were analyzed from the regional coroner's records. Injuries sustained were scored using the Abbreviated Injury Scale (1985; AIS) and Injury Severity Score (ISS). Victims with injuries graded AIS 6 (any region), AIS 5 head/neck (excluding acute epidural hematoma), or ISS greater than 59 were deemed unsalvageable. All other injuries were considered survivable and the deaths from them preventable. Use of these objective criteria indicated that 8/38 of the children (21%) who died from trauma had survivable injuries. Since in three cases medical aid was not sought because of social circumstances, 5/38 (13%) was considered a realistic estimate of preventable death rate (PDR). These results suggest that when objective criteria are used, the PDR in pediatric trauma may be less than that reported in adult trauma victims. Defining the PDR on the basis of objective criteria may prove useful in the conduct of further studies of this kind and permit valid comparisons to be made.