CDC Report Shows Drop in Accidental Deaths Among Kids, Teenagers

Between 2000 and 2009, prescription drug misuse largely contributed to a 91% increase in poisoning deaths among teenagers ages 15 to 19, while accidental deaths declined by 30% among children and teens younger than age 19 during the same time frame, according to a CDC report released Monday, USA Today reports (Hellmich, USA Today, 4/16).

The report is likely to revive bipartisan efforts to fight prescription drug misuse among teens, according to The Hill's "Healthwatch" (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/16). About 50% of the most recent poisoning deaths were among adolescents ages 15 to 19 who overdosed on prescription medications, according to the report (Stobbe, AP/Sacramento Bee, 4/16).

Automobile accidents still are the leading cause of accidental deaths, despite declining by 41% between 2000 and 2009 (USA Today, 4/16). Meanwhile, the number of deaths from suffocation increased to 1,160 in 2009, with the rate among infants ages one and younger increasing by 54%.

Delaware, Iowa, Oregon and Virginia saw the biggest declines in accidental death rates. Mississippi had the highest accidental death rate in 2009, at 25 per 100,000 residents ages 19 and younger, while Massachusetts had the lowest, at four per 100,000 (AP/Sacramento Bee, 4/16).

CDC and more than 60 partner organizations released a National Action Plan to raise awareness about child injury risks, provide prevention solutions and mobilize action ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/16).

Barbery Byfield
While this news is welcome, my first thought is that perhaps teens are at less risk for accidents these days because they spend more of their free time behind screens rather than outside playing where injuries from bicycles, skateboards and other activities are more likely to occur.

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