CDC Report Brings Good & Bad News On Child Fatality Trends

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought both good and bad news about trends in child fatalities in the United States over the past decade. While far fewer children and teens are dying of unintentional injuries than 10 years ago, certain types of injuries have increased at an alarming rate.

Thousands of Lives Saved

According to the CDC report, the rate of child deaths caused by unintentional injury declined by nearly 30 percent between 2000 and 2009, saving an estimated 11,000 young lives. Although car accidents still remain the leading cause of fatal injuries for people under age 19, traffic deaths fell by 41 percent in that age group during the last decade. Researchers attribute much of the improvement to stronger graduated driver’s licensing laws and increased use of seatbelts and child safety seats in recent years.

One Child Injury Death Per Hour in U.S.

But despite these encouraging findings, the CDC reports that injuries are still the leading cause of death among children and teens. In 2009 alone, more than 9,000 kids died in the U.S. from injuries caused by accidents like car crashes, falls, fires, drowning, and suffocation – the equivalent of about one child dying every hour from a preventable injury.

Perhaps the most unsettling statistics addressed in the CDC report are the near doubling of poisoning deaths among older teens and a substantial increase in infant suffocation over the last decade. Fatal poisonings, often caused by prescription drug overdose, have increased by 91 percent among 15- to 19-year-olds. Meanwhile, the suffocation rate among infants rose by 54 percent.

Nonfatal Injuries Remain a Serious Problem

Preventing fatalities among children and teens is only one step – though an important one – toward a larger goal of keeping kids safe. According to the CDC, for every one child who dies, another 25 are hospitalized, 925 are treated in the emergency room, and countless others are treated in a doctor’s office. If your child has been injured in a preventable accident, you may be able to receive compensation for the medical costs and other losses resulting from the injury. Speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer for more information about your legal options.