CDC: Kids' accidental death rates down 30%, "but we can do more"

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Energizer/Safe Kids USA

(CBS/AP) Fewer kids and teenagers have died from accidents over the past decade, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says death rates from children and adolescents between the ages of 0 and 19 have dropped 30 percent between 2000 and 2009. One big reason was a 41 percent decline in traffic fatalities, which annually account for half or more of kids' deaths caused by accidents. Childhood deaths from drowning, fires and falls also plummeted.

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"Kids are safer from injuries today than ever before," CDC Director Thomas Frieden said in a written statement. "In fact, the decrease in injury death rates in the past decade has resulted in more than 11,000 children's lives being saved. But we can do more. It's tragic and unacceptable when we lose even one child to an avoidable injury," he said.

The CDC released the new "Vital Signs" report Monday.

Mississippi continued to have the worst numbers, with an accidental death rate in 2009 of 25 per 100,000 people ages 19 and younger. Massachusetts still had the lowest rate, at 4 per 100,000.

In 2009, more than 9,000 children lost their lives as the result of an unintentional injury, the CDC said. While most causes of death fell, suffocation rates rose 54 percent among infants younger than 1 year old. Poisoning deaths increased a staggering 91 percent among teens 15-19, with prescription drug overdoses driving the rates.

Accidental injuries are the leading cause of death for youths ages 1 to 19.

Officials hope to reduce these death rates even more. The CDC recommends proper storage and disposal of medications and more state-based prescription drug monitoring programs to reduce overdose rates. To curb suffocation rates, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends creating safe infant sleeping environments where children sleep in a safe crib on their backs with no loose sheets or stuffed animals.

According to U.S. News, there are several hidden home dangers that may risk a child's health. .

  • CBS News Staff

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