Accidental injuries down among U.S. kids

April 16, 2012 at 9:09 PM
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ATLANTA, April 16 (UPI) -- From 2000 to 2009, death rates from unintentional injury among U.S. children dropped by one-third, federal health officials said.

A Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said while death rates from unintentional injuries among those from birth to age 19 declined by nearly 30 percent, more than 9,000 children lost their lives as a result of unintentional injury in 2009.

Although the rates for most causes of child injuries declined, suffocation rates are on the rise, with a 54 percent increase among infants age 1 and younger, health officials said.

For teens ages 15-19, poisoning deaths increased 91 percent, largely due to prescription drug overdose, the report said.

The most common cause of unintentional injury fatalities for children was motor vehicle crashes and other leading causes include suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires and falls.

"The decrease in injury death rates in the past decade has resulted in more than 11,000 children lives being saved," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement. "But we can do more. It's tragic and unacceptable when we lose even one child to an avoidable injury."

The child injury death rates varied substantially among states in 2009, ranging from less than 5 per 100,000 children in Massachusetts and New Jersey to more than 23 per 100,000 children in South Dakota and Mississippi, the report said.

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