CDC reports sharp decline in fatal accidents involving children

There is nothing worse than hearing about a child dying as the result of accidental injury. While fatal accidents remain the leading cause of death among young people ages 1 to 19 in the United States, new data shows that the fatality rate has dropped by close to 30 percent over the past 10 years.

The data was released in a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which indicated that the lives of more than 11,000 children have been saved as a result of the decrease in fatal accidents involving children over the past decade.

Massachusetts boasted the lowest fatality rate, with 4 deaths per 100,000 children and teenagers. Although the report does not indicate why Massachusetts has such a low accidental death rate among young people, the state is known for its high number of board-certified emergency-medicine doctors per capita. Additionally, the state has a renowned Safe Routes to Schools program and strict gun-safety laws.

As for the national drop in fatal accidents involving children, the CDC’s report said that safety improvements in auto travel have likely been the biggest influence. Over the past 10 years, there has been a vast increase in the use of seat belts and child safety seats. Vehicles have also been designed safer and states have implemented stricter driver’s license requirements, the CDC’s report said.

Other types of fatal accidents involving children declined significantly as well, the CDC’s report showed, including drowning, burns and falls. However, all of these accidents should be preventable, so a CDC spokesperson said even the death of one child is one too many.

Source: Alaska Dispatch, “Steep decline in fatal accident rate for US children and teens since 2000,” Andrew Match, April 25, 2012