The child death rate increased in Arizona last year, and more than one-third of those deaths were preventable. That is according to a new report just released by the Arizona Child Fatality Review Program.
Researchers say there were 834 children under the age of 18 who died in Arizona in 2014. 297 of those deaths (36%) were believed to be preventable.
While the leading cause of death of children 17 and younger was disease or another medical condition, homicides, accidents and suicides ranked as the most-preventable causes of fatal harm to kids.
Deaths due to unsafe sleeping conditions for infants went up 30 percent last year according to a story in the Arizona Daily Star.
Of particular note is the conclusion in the report that most sleep deaths are preventable.
Fully half are caused by “co-sleeping,” where children are in bed with their parents. “They usually suffocate,” said Dr. Mary Rimsza, a pediatrician. “And they suffocate because the bed’s too soft and there’s other materials in the bed, some blankets and pillows,” she continued. Other times there are other people in the bed “and they roll over on them and suffocate them.”
Arizona launched a safe sleep awareness campaign back in August to educate parents on the ABCs of Safe Sleep: Alone, on their Backs, in a Crib.
In a separate report from the Trust for America’s Health released late last week, Arizona had the 8th highest rate of teen and young adult overdose deaths in the nation. However, according to a story in Cronkite News – “Arizona health officials challenged the report’s findings, saying their own statistics show a much lower death rate. They believe their numbers are more accurate since they count only deaths specifically resulting from drug overdoses, while the report counted all drug-related causes, including accidents and violence.”
Finding new ways to keep young people safe and healthy is critical to our goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation! We hope you will share any thoughts you might have on how we can do this together.