The number of children dying from accidental injuries in the US has dropped, but deaths related to prescription drugs are on the rise.
(Image source: The Huffington Post) BY ORLA O’MUIRI ANCHOR JIM FLINK It’s a case of good news, bad news in children’s health. Accidental death rates among children are down in the United States. The number of children dying from unintentional injuries has fallen 30% from 2000 to 2009. Fox news reports. “A new report from the Centers for Disease Control says the decline is mainly because of a decline in traffic deaths. Unintentional injuries are still the leading cause of death in the United States for children ages one to 19 and the fifth leading cause of death for newborns.” According to the report, the number of deaths dropped from about 12,400 to 9,100. But conversely, The Daily Mail reports, the number of accidental poisoning deaths is cause for concern. “There were 824 deaths from accidental poisonings in 2009. Around half of those recent deaths were of overdoses of prescription drugs from people ages 15 to 19.” One of the lead authors of the report – MD Julie Gilchrist of the CDC's Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention – tells the Chicago Tribune, the use of prescription drugs among young people is on the rise. “Prescription drug poisonings, whether the drugs are stolen from parents' medicine cabinets or purchased on the street, appear to be increasingly replacing marijuana as a "gateway drug" that leads to the abuse of harder drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.” So what’s the net-net? MedPageToday says, despite the lower numbers, America is not doing well on the global scale. “Out of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, the U.S. ranked 30th in patients 14 and younger in 2008, "with a [death] rate four times higher than the top-performing nations.” The report also ranked results by states. The Wall Street Journal has the figures. “Massachusetts reported the lowest rate, with four deaths per 100,000 people, while Mississippi posted the highest figure, 25.1 deaths per 100,000 people.” in light of this report, the CDC plans to release a National Action Plan on Child Injury Prevention.