CDC: Death Rate From Accidents Falls 30 Percent for Kids and Teens
Kids' accidental deaths are down 30 percent from 2000 to 2009, mostly thanks to a decline in traffic deaths. That's according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that stresses that more than 9,000 young people still die annually from motor-vehicle-related accidents, fires, poisoning, drowning, falls, and other unintentional injuries. Indeed, accidental injuries remain the leading cause of death for youths ages 1 to 19. While the CDC saw a 41 percent drop in traffic fatalities, accidental poisonings rose by 80 percent. About half of the most recent poisoning deaths were teens ages 15 to 19 who overdosed on prescription drugs. "As promising as the results of the CDC report are, parents and pediatricians need to work to prevent each and every injury to children," Estevan Garcia, director of pediatric emergency medicine at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, told HealthDay. "These injuries are devastating to families and are preventable."
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The 'Choking Game' and Other Dangerous Games Your Kids Should Avoid
A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but a spoonful of cinnamon … that's an entirely different story.
It sounds like something you'd see on the television show Iron Chef, only the seemingly innocent "cinnamon challenge" poses an alarming number of risks for kids and teens who take it on. (The goal: to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon without washing it down with water.) Over the past few months, emergency rooms and poison control centers throughout the country have been flooded with calls from panicked parents and concerned school nurses about this prevalent trend.
But cinnamon isn't the only ingredient that kids are challenging. Milk, marshmallows, water, and even oxygen (rather, lack thereof) can stimulate kids' competitive edge. More than 6 percent of eighth graders have participated in the extremely dangerous "choking game," which involves cutting off oxygen intake by strangling to produce a light-headed, fuzzy feeling, finds a new study published in Pediatrics by the Oregon Health Authority and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 1995 and 2007, approximately 82 kids ages six to 19 died after playing the choking game, according to the study. [Read more: The 'Choking Game' and Other Dangerous Games Your Kids Should Avoid]
Home Safety: Hidden Risks to Children
The child left his mother's sight for mere minutes. Yet that was enough time for 21-month-old Ollie Hebb to fall into the top-loading washing machine and become submerged in a full tub. The Utah boy died a day later, after suffering severe brain damage.
Between 2005 and 2009, two children under the age of five died as a result of laundry room accidents, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Washing machine-related injuries are more common than deaths, says Scott Wolfson, director of public affairs for the CPSC. Aside from drowning, children may suffer burns from hot water in the machine, or injuries to their limbs if they come into contact with a rapidly spinning basin. "Kids are curious. We have to be very vigilant about our children, and really live in the moment and be present when we're supervising them," says Kate Carr, president of Safe Kids Worldwide, which aims to prevent unintentional childhood injuries.
Washing machines aren't the only hidden dangers lurking in homes. Here are 5 others to be cautious of:
Standing water. Drowning concerns extend beyond swimming pools. Any type of standing water—even if it's just an inch deep—can harm a child. "The bathroom is the riskiest room in the house," says Garry Gardner, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' council on injury, violence, and poison prevention. "Children lean over and look into the toilet or bathtub, they trip, and they fall in." Keep young children out of the bathroom unless they're being closely watched, and teach others in the home to keep the bathroom door closed at all times. Ice chests with melted ice, water buckets or pails, and whirlpools also pose risks. Empty all buckets, pails, and bathtubs completely after use; never leave them filled or unattended. And adjust the water heater thermostat so that the hottest temperature at the faucet is 120 degrees Fahrenheit, to help avoid burns. [Read more: Home Safety: Hidden Risks to Children.]