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Report: car accidents claiming fewer young lives

La Crosse TV station WXOW reports that a new government report shows that accidental deaths are taking from us far fewer children and teens than in the past.

One of the big reasons for the drop, experts say, is the 41 percent reduction in car accident fatalities. Those traffic fatalities account for at least half of all accidental deaths of children in the nation.

The death rate for teenagers and children ages 19 and younger plummeted 30 percent from 2000 to 2009. There were 12,400 accidental deaths among the age group in 2000, which fell to about 9,100 by 2009.

"We've made progress, and because we've made progress our children are safer than ever before," said a spokesperson for the federal government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC released the report.

However, accidental deaths remain the leading cause of death among those ages 19 and younger.

The CDC said that on average, one member of that demographic group dies every hour in a car accident, fire, fall or other accident.

Officials believe the drop in traffic fatalities among the young can be attributed to a variety of factors, including improved vehicle safety, graduated drivers' licenses and improvements in child car seats and booster seats.

The CDC reports childhood deaths in fires, falls and drowning are also down significantly.

One area in which childhood deaths have surged is prescription drug overdoses. The alarming trend is mostly among adults, but it reaches down into the ranks of teenagers as well.

Source: WXOW: "Fewer children die in accidents; drug overdoses up," Mike Stobee, April 16, 2012

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