Drownings, child neglect and firearms contributed to an increase in child deaths in Arizona in 2021, marking the highest rate of child deaths in the past 10 years, according to an annual report published by the state.
The review released earlier this month by the state’s Infant Mortality Review Program said Arizona’s infant mortality rate rose 4.7% from 51 deaths per 100 000 children in 2020 to 53.4 deaths per 100,000 children in 2021, The Arizona Republic reported.
A total of 863 children died in Arizona last year, up from 838 the year before.
Nearly half of last year’s deaths could have been prevented, say the report’s authors, who based their analysis on examination of death certificates, autopsy reports, hospital records, force reports of the order and any other relevant document that provides insight into the cause of a child’s death. death.
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Infant death rates in Arizona from drowning and child abuse or neglect “increased significantly” as of 2020, the report said. Child drownings doubled from 22 deaths in 2020 to 44 deaths in 2021, and drowning was the most common cause of death among children aged 1 to 4, the report said.
“We were very surprised at how many drownings we had. It’s been going down in that category for many years and now it’s going up. It was very concerning,” said Dr. Mary Ellen Rimsza, a pediatrician who chairs the Arizona State Infant Mortality Team. “It’s very tragic how this can happen so quickly in situations where people have a swimming pool in their backyard.”
There were 128 children in Arizona who died of abuse or neglect in 2021, compared to 95 such deaths in 2020.
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“The majority of them are not abuse. They are neglect. And so I think we have to consider what are the situations where neglect occurs,” Rimsza said. “Some of them aren’t intentional neglect, it’s neglect for lack of money for housing, for childcare, so they have dangerous childcare situations. .”
Rimsza noted that substance use played a role in more than half of child deaths from abuse or neglect in 2021, a factor that in some cases may have been linked to COVID-19. Numerous reports and studies have indicated that drug and alcohol use has increased during the pandemic due to, among other things, stress and isolation.