Accidental Child Deaths Ebb; Risks Do Not
Accidental deaths among children under age Twenty declined twenty nine percent in 2000-2009, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but deaths from poisoning and suffocation increased substantially.
The analysis, published last week in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found that the overall injury death rate in this group dropped to 11.0 per 100,000 in 2009 from 15.5 in 2000.
Poisoning deaths increased 80 percent, and 57 percent of them involved prescription drugs. Deaths from suffocation rose 30 percent, mostly in infants.
Automobile deaths declined sharply because of improvements in seat belt and child safety seat use, stricter licensing requirements, better vehicle design and reductions in drunken driving. But crashes remained the leading cause of injury deaths in children.
“While we’ve seen this decline in injuries, we still see one child dying every hour,” said Linda C. Degutis, director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “We’re concerned about the increase in suffocation deaths among infants and the increase of 91 percent among 15- to 19-year-olds in poisoning deaths, most of which can be attributed to prescription drugs. These deaths are preventable.”
Rates declined across the country, but there was wide variation. Mississippi had 25.1 deaths per 100,000; New Jersey and Massachusetts had rates under 4.5.