This weekend the Chicago Tribune shared information on new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data provides important information about injury trends among American children. The information includes details on all sorts of harm that befalls our youngest community members from birth to the age of nineteen.
Unfortunately, while there are some positive trends included in the figures, they indicate that there is still much work to be done to ensure our children reach adulthood and do so in good health. The best news related to car accident injury rates. In the last decade (from 2000 to 2009), there was a healthy 41% decrease in car crash deaths for children. That decline was the main reason why the overall death rate for children from all causes decreased by 30% over that same time.
But there were also trouble spots in the data. Over the decade there was a 91% increase in teen prescription drug poisoning deaths and a 54% increase in infant suffocation deaths. The infant suffocation deaths may be increasing in part because of heightened awareness and analysis of specific death details. Better investigation into the infant deaths often now attribute the infant passing to suffocation instead of declaring it sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) which it might have been labeled in the past.
All told, in 2009-the most recent single year where data is available-about 9,000 infants, children, and teens died accidentally. Many others were not killed but injured. For each death there are at least twenty five hospitalizations and nearly a thousand more emergency room trips. In total these childhood injuries lead to about $11.5billion in medical spending and represent another injured child every four seconds.
The deputy director of the CDC explained that in the U.S. “the [child death] rate is among the worst of all high-income countries.” She went on to note that in most cases the deaths could and should have been prevented. Our Chicago birth injury lawyers know that this mirrors U.S. maternal childbirth death rates which are surprisingly near the highest in the developed world. Clearly much more needs to be done to prevent birth injuries and other harms that before young children throughout the country.
The CDC project where the information was released is called “Vital Signs” and it includes accident-type and state specific information on a wide range of child injury issues. The main Vital Signs website can be reached here. The child injury portion of the project was spurred in part by the realization that there remains a lack of proper awareness for these concerns, especially considering that preventable injuries are the number one cause of death among children.
Each Illinois birth injury attorney works with families whose infants have been harmed, usually by preventable mistakes during the birthing process. The rates of birth injury and childhood injury are far higher than many in the community might suspect. Hopefully this new comprehensive CDC data project will help raise awareness to these concerns and lead to better safety practices to prevent each of these harms.
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