Jeremy Olson writes about children and families, and is an overscheduled father of two. His blog tackles the best and worst of parenting, families, health and love. He wants to hear from you - what's going on in your house?
Few states made as much as progress as Minnesota in lowering the rate of children dying from accidents from 2000 to 2009, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Federal data shows a 40 percent drop in these deaths in Minnesota -- 205 youths ages 0 to 19 died in 2000, compared to 122 in 2009. Compared to other states, Minnesota had the ninth lowest rate of deaths of children due to unintentional injuries in 2009.
State data from 2000 to 2009 shows the improvement is entirely in school-aged children. The number of deaths involving infants, toddlers and preschoolers actually increased slightly over the decade. Common causes of death related to this younger population -- such as accidental poisoning or suffocation -- remained constant or increased.
But among teens ages 15 through 19, the number of deaths due to unintentional injuries dropped from 111 to 62, according to the state data (which roughly equals the federal data).
The federal Wonder database -- though it only has figures through 2008 -- offers reasons for that trend in teens. Mostly, it is due to a dramatic decline in fatalities due to car wrecks in Minnesota. That number (for all ages 0 to 19) dropped from 119 in 2000 to 58 in 2008. Drownings are also down -- from 22 in 2000 to 14 in 2008 -- among Minnesota youths.
State health commissioner Ed Ehlinger credits the drop in motor vehicle deaths to the TZD Minnesota safety collaboration by the state's health, public safety and transportation departments. He also credits the increased restrictions on drivers licenses for teens that limit when they can drive at first and how many passengers they can transport.