MONDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Accidental deaths among children and adolescents have dropped 30 percent since 2000 but still remain the number-one killer of children and teens, according to new statistics released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday.
"More than 9,000 children died from unintentional injuries in the U.S. in 2009," said CDC principal deputy director Ileana Arias at a Monday press conference. "In the U.S., death rates from unintentional injuries in children up to age 14 were among the worst of all high-income countries."
Leading the list of fatal unintentional injuries were motor vehicle crashes, although suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires and burns and falls also contributed to fatalities.
One expert said the CDC analysis was "encouraging," but said the drop in numbers could and should fall further.
The new report "highlights the need for further education and community intervention," said Dr. Estevan Garcia, director of pediatric emergency medicine at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City. "These injuries are devastating to families and are preventable."
An analysis of data from the National Vital Statistics System revealed that the annual death rate from unintentional injury dropped 29 percent from 15.5 per 100,000 people to 11 per 100,000 people.
The decrease was seen among all age groups except children under the age of 1, where rates rose from about 23 to almost 28 per 100,000 infants from 2000 to 2009. That increase was largely the result of a 54 percent rise in suffocations, although authorities aren't sure what is behind the rise.
Deaths from poisoning in teens aged 15 to 19 almost doubled during the decade, mostly a result of more prescription drug overdoses, the CDC added.
"The picture with teens is not that different than with prescription drugs in the entire popu
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