A welcome decline of 41 percent was seen in motor vehicle-related deaths, although these still comprised the majority of deaths from unintentional injuries. The CDC experts credit several factors for the decline, including improved use of child safety seats and booster seats and more widespread adoption and strengthening of Graduated Driver License (GDL) laws, said Arias.
Unfortunately, motor vehicle-related accidents still account for half of all child injury deaths, she said.
Accidental death rates also varied between states, from a low of less than five deaths per 100,000 children in Massachusetts and New Jersey to more than 23 deaths per 100,000 in South Dakota and Mississippi.
The CDC has partnered with more than 60 other organizations to release a National Action Plan on Child Injury Prevention.
Steps that communities, parents and caregivers can take to enhance safety include creating or choosing play areas with soft landing surfaces, making sure homes have functioning smoke alarms, ensuring that every child wears a seat belt or is in an appropriate safety seat whenever they ride in a vehicle, and only putting babies and infants to sleep on their backs with no soft toys or loose bed clothes, said Dr. Julie Gilchrist, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC's division of unintentional injury prevention.
Both prescription and over-the-counter medications should also be locked up and kept away from children and teens, she added.
Garcia also offered up a few more tips to keep kids safe.
"Parents also need to understand that drowning does not only occur in pools or outdoors, but can occur if a child is left unattended in a bathtub, even for just a few seconds," he noted. "Parents can also help protect their children by insisting they use a helmet and other protective gear when riding a bike
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