NEW YORK CITY – Kids in New York City are safer than in the nation overall, according to the first report of the New York City Child Fatality Review Team, released by the Health Department. The City’s child injury death rate is half the national rate, thanks mainly to lower rates of car passenger deaths and homicides. While children in New York City are seven times less likely to die as car passengers, motor vehicles remain the leading cause of accidental child deaths in New York City.
In New York City, 286 children between the ages of one and 12 died from injury during the five-year period from 2001 through 2005. Injury deaths mainly include accidents, homicides and suicides. Two thirds of these deaths were accidents. While motor vehicles were the single largest contributor, 55% of fatal injuries occurred in or around the home – many caused by house fires, and some by falls and falling objects. The rate of fatal injuries was 26% higher among boys than girls and 50% higher among African American children than white children. Younger children (aged 1-3 years) and children living in Brooklyn also experienced higher-than-average rates of fatal injury.
"Every child death is a tragedy," said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. "While injury death rates are relatively low in New York City, virtually all of these deaths are preventable. Improving safety on our streets and in our homes will make New York City even safer for kids."
"Safety is DOT’s top priority and thanks to engineering improvements and education, our streets are safer. But we can and need to do more to protect the most vulnerable New Yorkers," said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "This report provides important guidance on what we need to do to keep kids safe on our streets and highlights the importance of initiatives like Safe Routes to School, a program that has already led to safety enhancements at the10% of city schools with the highest accident rates."
"Anytime a child dies, we have a responsibility to immediately address the source or cause of death," said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "This report serves as a useful tool to prevent future tragedies. After working so extensively on the creation of the Child Fatality Review Team, I am very pleased to see significant progress in addressing this important issue. I am grateful to Dr. Frieden and the members of the CFRT for their dedication and excellent work.