2013 Arizona Child Fatality Review released, deaths down

baby-400Arizona Child Fatality Review Team released the Twenty-First Annual Report that shows a decrease in child deaths, with a 22 percent decline since 2008.
The director of the Arizona’s Department of Health Services attributes the decline in part to the implementation of initiatives recommended by the annual Reports.

According to Mary Ellen Rimsza, MD, Chair, Arizona Child Fatality Review Program in her transmittal letter, “The Arizona Child Fatality Review Program explores the causes and contributing factors associated with child deaths in order to identify recommendations addressing preventable fatalities of children based upon this collection of work.

Rimza noted, “In 2013, Child Fatality Review Teams determined that 310 of the 811 deaths were preventable (38 percent) and that 98 percent of accidental deaths, 100 percent of homicides and 88 percent of suicides were determined to be preventable. The contributing factors identified by our reviews are the basis for many of the recommendations included in this report. While the factors vary with the cause of death, some of the identified factors in 2013 included substance use, lack of vehicle restraints, unsafe sleep environments, lack of supervision and bullying. Substance use was associated with 16 percent of all child deaths (n=128) in 2013 and was a contributing factor in 55 percent of the maltreatment deaths.”

Report highlights:

● In 2013, 811 children under 18 years of age died in Arizona, a decrease from 2012 when 854 children died.

● The number of deaths and mortality rates listed by cause of death has been decreasing over the last five years in every category but maltreatment where mortality rates have increased from 3.0 deaths per 100,000 in 2008 to 5.6 deaths per 100,000 in 2013.

● The Child Fatality Review Program determined that 92 of the child deaths in 2013 (11 percent) were due to maltreatment, which is an increase from 70 deaths in 2012.

● Deaths due to prematurity, which had been declining since 2008, also increased in 2013 going from 192 in 2012 to 210.

● Deaths caused by drowning, motor vehicle crashes, medical conditions and suicide have declined since 2008 and continued to decrease in 2013.

● There was a decline in drowning deaths in 2013, decreasing from 36 in 2012 to 23 in 2013, and a slight decrease in firearm-related deaths from 32 in 2012 to 29.

The Child Fatality Review Program also seeks to identify maltreatment deaths not previously reported to Arizona child protective services agencies. Rimza says that the group hopes “that the information gathered by our Arizona Child Fatality Review Program and our prevention recommendations will be used by families, communities and policy makers to prevent future deaths.”

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