Child Injuries and Fatalities Down, ‘But We Can Do More’

Fatalities that result from child injuries are extremely traumatic, particularly for family and loved ones of the child involved. This trauma includes everything from financial complications to loss of enjoyment of life, and can subsequently become a life-altering event. Fortunately, a recent study shows that fatalities stemming from child injuries have been in a continuous decline over the past decade, but a significant amount of children continue to be seriously injured or killed every year.

Little Kids, Big Accidents

There were more than 9,000 fatalities involving children under the age of 19 in 2009 alone. In many cases, negligence is the primary cause of a child’s serious injury or fatality.

Washington State has seen a significant amount of child injuries in recent months. In four unrelated instances since February, young children have gotten hold of and fired a handgun, resulting in two deaths and two serious injuries.

In one case, a boy took a .45-caliber handgun from the glove compartment of his mother’s truck and brought it to school. He set his backpack down on his desk in the classroom and the gun went off, seriously injuring his classmate.

Fortunately, the girl was able to survive the gunshot wound and has since been released from Harborview Medical Center. The boy’s mom and her boyfriend, however, face assault and firearm possession charges.

CDC’s Study on Child Injuries

Among all of the negative images that are conjured up in stories of children playing with firearms, there is a silver lining in the fact that the frequency of serious child injuries and fatalities are declining.

According to a recent study led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that death rates from unintentional injury among U.S. children has declined by approximately 30 percent since the year 2000.

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

There were, however, some less-than-pleasing findings in the study as well.

Likely due to the growing popularity of prescription drug use among young teens, poisoning deaths among children age 15 to 19 increased by approximately 91 percent. A significant amount of these were linked to prescription drug overdose, according to the CDC report.

Another troubling finding in the CDC’s study was that there was a 54 percent increase in suffocation deaths among infants under one year old. Not surprisingly, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of unintentional fatalities for all children.

The study also found that child injury death rates varied drastically state-to-state. Massachusetts had the lowest rate, with 5 unintentional injury fatalities per 100,000 children, while New Jersey had the highest with more than 23 per 100,000 children.

What does this study mean for the future of child injuries and fatalities? Despite the troubling statistics that the CDC’s study found, do you think this is a sign of a positive trend? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comment box below.

Chris Davis
Top-rated, award-winning, attorney practicing wrongful death & serious injury law in Seattle.
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