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David Mittleman
David Mittleman
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Accidental Injury Deaths Down by 30% Among Children

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It isn’t very often that we receive good news related to injuries. However, a recent CDC report revealed that deaths from accidental injuries among children dropped by 30% between 2000 and 2009. That amounts to 11,000 young lives saved during that time period.

Despite the good news, 9,000 people under the age of 19 still lost their lives between 2000 and 2009. Motor vehicle crashes remained the top cause of death from accidental injury and other leading causes included suffocation, drowning, poisoning, falls, and fires. The statistics also stated that every four seconds, a child is treated for an accidental injury and that the only way to further reduce the occurrence of injuries is for parents, healthcare providers, government and community groups to come together to identify the risks for injury. Specifically, starting at home, parents can significantly reduce the likelihood that their child will get injured. Make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home and keep medicines and cleaning products out of the reach of young children. Accidents can also occur right under a parent’s nose, such as an accidental drowning that can occur in a shallow pool of water in a bathtub. Similarly, a helmet while riding a bike is always a must. When thinking about teenage children, it is important for parents to be aware that prescription medication overdose deaths are more common than before. Accidental deaths among teenagers from abusing prescription drugs can be reduced by ensuring appropriate prescribing, making sure to properly dispose and store medications, and discouraging medication sharing.

Overall, although the CDC is optimistic about the national trend in falling accidental injuries among children, the statistics also vary widely by state. For example, there were less than 5 accidental child deaths per 100,000 in Massachusetts in 2009, but there were more than 23 per 100,000 in South Dakota and Mississippi during the same time period. The CDC is also issuing new action plan to reduce accidental injury deaths among children that include: 1) boosting awareness about child injury and its effects, 2) highlighting prevention strategies and adopting common goals and strategies, and 3) pushing for a national, coordinated effort to reduce childhood injuries.