Data can save lives if you use it right. One of the ways we use data to save lives is through our annual Child Fatality Review Report. We published our 21st Annual Report this week. The report examined all 811 deaths of children under 18 in 2013. Teams discussed the circumstances of each child’s death, determine preventability, and make recommendations to prevent future deaths. We’ve had a 22% decline in child deaths since 2008…partly as a result of implementing initiatives recommended by these Annual Reports.
This year’s report underscores the importance of making sure infants are in a safe sleep environment. Over 60 infants died in unsafe sleeping environments in 2013. That means in Arizona in 2013, an infant was more likely to die as the result of an unsafe sleep environment than a car crash. Think about that.
Every child under age one should have their own sleeping space and always be put to sleep on their back. Babies should never be put to sleep in an adult bed, on chairs or sofas, in waterbeds or on pillows or cushions. All soft objects should be kept out of a baby’s crib, including toys and crib bumpers. Our Injury Prevention Team will be conducting second reviews of all sleep related deaths and will be working in tandem with the safe sleep task force. Our home visiting and WIC folks are also working to help spread the word about safe sleep to new parents and families.
We’re also focusing on reducing prematurity. More than a quarter (26%) of the babies who died last year were born too early. We’ve had success in reducing the number of babies born early by working with partners across the state and parents, and we’ll continue that work through our preconception health campaigns, the March of Dimes, and our home visiting programs. Our Healthy Babies web page has some good information and more to come as we work as a state to improve the lives of all babies. Here’s a fact sheet of community recommendations that everyone can use to help keep our kids safe.