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UNLV Report: Child Fatalities Steadily Decline in Past Five Years

Homicide rates in Clark County were the lowest in five years; however education about safe sleeping habits for infants and motor vehicle safety still needed to reduce fatality rates.
Research  |  Nov 18, 2013  |  By Megan Downs
Media Contact: Megan Downs, Office of Media Relations (702) 895-0898

The number of child fatalities in Clark County has steadily declined in the last five years, from 311 in 2008 to 222 in 2012, according to an annual report released today by the Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy (NICRP) at UNLV

Each year, the NICRP report breaks down the manners and causes of child death cases ranging from birth to 17 years in Clark County. The cases reviewed include all natural deaths (127 cases), accidents (66 cases), homicides (eight cases), suicides (five cases), and deaths from undetermined causes (16 cases).

Analyzing this information for the past five years has helped to focus injury prevention programs and slowly decrease the number of child deaths in Clark County, NICRP officials said.

“Keeping track of this data helps to drive down the number of child fatalities because it allows community partners to work collaboratively to target outreach and education focused on injury prevention to prevent these deaths,” said Tara Phebus, NICRP’s interim executive director. 

The report uses data gathered by an independent child death review team in Clark County and is designed to help local officials identify trends and risk factors and improve prevention efforts and keep our community safe.

Among the report’s significant findings:  

  •  Motor vehicle deaths increased from 10 cases in 2011 to 19 in 2012.
  • Suffocation and strangulation deaths increased from 15 cases in 2011 to 23 in 2012, the largest number in five years.
  • Poisoning and overdose cases increased by seven cases from nine cases in 2011 to 16 in 2012.
  • Suicides decreased from 16 cases in 2011 to five in 2012.
  • Deaths caused by weapons decreased from 30 cases in 2011 to seven in 2012.  
  • One death resulted from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • Homicides decreased from 19 cases in 2011 to eight in 2012.

To reduce the rates of accidental deaths, report authors urge improved and expanded culturally sensitive outreach and education regarding safe sleep environments for infants. The authors recommended more support for campaigns that target motor vehicle and pedestrian safety. Additionally, initiatives related to preventing substance abuse in young adults as well as treatment and prenatal care for substance-abusing pregnant women should be strengthened, authors said.

This is the seventh year the NICRP at UNLV has prepared an annual report.