-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- About 12,000 children die
from unintended, accidental injuries each year, most of them
preventable, according to a report issued Thursday by the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The agency also noted that between 2000 and 2009, almost 116,000
Americans age 19 and younger lost their lives to these types of
incidents, with boys facing nearly double the risk compared to
girls. More than 9 million young people are also treated in the
nation's emergency departments for nonfatal injuries each year, the
With accidents remaining the leading killer of children,
"decreasing the burden of injuries is a central challenge for
public health in the United States," the CDC team concluded.
The study, led by Nagesh Borse of the CDC's Center for Global
Health, is published in the Oct. 19 issue of the agency's journal
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
In the new report, the researchers turned to a statistical
measure known as "years of potential life lost"(YPLL) to highlight
the loss to society when very young people die. This measurement
calculates the total number of years lost prior to the expected
lifespan for these children.
The study found that boys had nearly double the years lost from
fatal accidents compared to girls -- 1,137 lost years per 100,000
vs. 630 per 100,000, respectively.
Teenagers were more at risk than younger children (excepting
babies), the report found. For example, while the rate of years
lost for kids aged 5 to 9 was 367 per 100,000, it climbed to 1,768
for those aged 15 to 19.
But the highest death toll was reserved for infants under the
age of one. Infants had a YPLL of 1,977 per 100,000, with most
cases linked to suffocation (such as when infants die in their
Traffic accidents contributed to the majority (55 percent) of
all life-years lost during the study period, the CDC team said.
There were five times more years lost due to motor vehicle
accidents than for the second leading cause, suffocation. Drowning
was the third leading cause of child deaths.
Steps can be taken to turn these statistics around, however.
"Most injuries are preventable, and many strategies are available
to reduce child injury and mortality," the CDC said. Parents and
schools can help with many of these efforts, which include "using
safety belts, reducing drinking and driving, strengthening
graduated driver licensing laws, using safety equipment during
sports participation, requiring four-sided residential pool
fencing, and encouraging safe sleep practices for infants," the
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines the
ABCs of raising safe and healthy children.
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