CDC Report Highlights Decrease In Children’ Deaths By Unintentional Injury
April 17, 2012

CDC Report Highlights Decrease In Children’ Deaths By Unintentional Injury

Connie K. Ho for

A new Vital Signs report from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 9,000 children died due to unintentional injury in 2009. Though this number is quite high, it is still an improvement from previous years. The research by the CDC found that the death rates from unintentional injuries among children and adolescents decreased by almost 30 percent from 2000 to 2009.

The CDC Vitals Report appears monthly in the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. According to MSNBC, the CDC looked at death certificates from those as young as newborns to those who are 19-year-olds. The report analyzes causes of unintentional injury, including deaths due to car accidents, fires, falls, among other issues. Even though crashes remain the number of cause of unintentional injuries, the number of deaths from motor vehicle accidents declined by 41 percent. This decrease has been attributed to better booster seat uses, changes in drivers´ license licensure for teenagers, and general improvements in child safety.

“Kids are safer from injuries today than ever before. In fact, the decrease in injury death rates in the past decade has resulted in more than 11,000 children´s lives being saved,” commented CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H, in a preparement statement. “But we can do more. It´s tragic and unacceptable when we lose even one child to an avoidable injury.”

While there is a decrease in the number of deaths by unintentional injury, there has been a rise in suffocation rates (a 54 percent increase among infants less than a year old) and poisoning rates (a 91 percent increase among teens between the ages of 15 and 19) due largely to prescription drug overdoses. Based on research, the CDC recommends that there be appropriate prescribing of medication, proper disposal of pills, and instatement of state-based prescription drug monitoring programs to decrease the number of prescription drug related deaths. According to CBS News, the American Academy of Pediatrics also advises creating a safe space for infants to sleep comfortably in a crib.

“Every 4 seconds, a child is treated for an injury in the emergency department, and every hour, a child dies as a result of an injury,” said Linda C. Degutis, Dr. P.H., M.S.N., director of CDC“²s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Child injury remains a serious problem in which everyone —including parents, state health officials, health care providers, government, and community groups — has a critical role to play to protect and save the lives of our young people.”

In 2009, child injury death rates also varied by state; while there were less than five deaths for every 100,000 children in Massachusetts and New Jersey, there were more than 23 deaths for every 100,000 children in South Dakota and Mississippi.

The CDC is partnering with over 60 different organizations to release a National Action Plan on Child Injury Prevention that will correspond with the Vital Signs report. The goals of the National Action Plan include raising awareness about the issue of child injury, highlighting prevention solutions, and mobilizing action to coordinate a national effort to reduce child injury.