April 18, 2012
For More Information Contact
Childhood Injury Prevention Efforts Making a Positive Impact
(Richmond, VA)—Virginia’s death rates from unintentional injuries among children and adolescents from birth to age 19 has declined by 45 percent from 2000 to 2009, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Virginia’s rate surpasses the 30 percent decline seen nationally.
“Key health indicators are showing that children are living safer, healthier lives in Virginia,” says State Health Commissioner Karen Remley MD, MBA, FAAP. “However more work is needed to ensure that all of our children are safe and are no longer at risk of losing their lives from avoidable injuries. The Virginia Department of Health is calling on all Virginians to continue to work together to decrease the number of children lost to unintentional injuries.”
Virginia’s progress in protecting children is primarily the result of the large (76 percent) decrease in death rates from motor vehicle crashes from 2000 to 2009. Most of this decrease coincides with the implementation of a graduated drivers licensing system for Virginia teen drivers and the strengthening of Virginia’s Child Passenger Safety Law along with improvements in the correct use of child safety seats and booster seats. Virginia Department of Health (VDH) coordinates a statewide child passenger safety program that educates the public on proper safety seat use and installation, as well as providing opportunities for safety seats to be checked for proper use by nationally certified technicians. VDH also distributes approximately 14,000 child safety seats and booster seats annually to families who could otherwise not afford them.
Despite these encouraging declines, accidental injuries remain the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 19 in Virginia. In 2010, more than 165 children ages 19 and younger died as a result of an unintentional injury. The most common cause of death is motor vehicle crashes; other leading causes include drowning, suffocation, poisoning and fires.
VDH also coordinates a traumatic brain injury prevention program as well as promotes safe sleeping environments for infants. To learn more about these programs and what you can do to prevent childhood injuries, visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov or contact your local health department. More statistical information about the burden of injuries in Virginia can be found using the Virginia Online Injury Reporting System (VOIRS). VOIRS can be accessed by visiting http://www.vahealth.org/Injury/data/index.htm.