King County child injury deaths drop by 62 percent
July 17, 2012
King County public health officials attributed a drop in injury deaths of children and teenagers in recent years to better education, policies, research and law enforcement.
The rate of death from injuries for children and teenagers 19 and younger declined by 62 percent from 2000 to 2009, Public Health – Seattle & King County announced June 18.
Countywide, 22 children died from injuries in 2009, down from 55 in 2000. The improvements in King County surpassed a national trend of fewer child injury deaths. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said child deaths from injuries declined 29 percent from 2000 to 2009.
“In King County, child injury rates have fallen twice as fast as national injury rates,” Dr. Beth Ebel, director of the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center, University of Washington, said in a statement. “We led the nation in strong bicycle helmet legislation, passed the first booster seat law in the country and have innovative programs to prevent childhood drowning. These programs make a difference.”
In King County, traffic-related child deaths declined from 35 in 2000 to 11 in 2009.
Officials said a variety of other factors also contributed to the decline in traffic-related child deaths, including a 98 percent seat belt use rate, improved driving enforcement and penalties, and graduated driver’s licenses to restrict passengers and driving times for teenagers.
“Safer cars play a huge role in reducing the number of traffic-related deaths,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement. “Many of us can remember climbing around the front seat of our parents’ cars — with no seat belts and no airbags. We’ve come a long way, and our kids are safer because of it.”