HARTFORD, CT — A new state report shows that 367 children died from 2011 to 2015 in Connecticut from both unintentional and intentional injuries. The largest portion of the deaths, 113, were infants under the age of 1.
The Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) and the state Child Fatality Review Panel (CFRP), who are charged with examining child fatalities, jointly released the report.
The report states that “Connecticut has one of the lowest child mortality rates in the country, according to Kids Count.” Kids Count is a nationwide organization that tracks the well-being of children in the United States.
Some of the key findings of the report, include:
• 150 children died during the five years from unintentional injuries that were classified by the Medical Examiner as “accidental.” From 2011-15, 69, or 46 percent, of the 150 deaths were due to motor vehicle related fatalities. Drowning deaths, 23, were the second highest in this category. The report states: “While the number of accidental child deaths has appreciably declined in Connecticut — compared to previous 5-year reviews — too many children are still dying in ways that are preventable, and accidental deaths still account for the highest proportion of preventable child deaths.”
• 90 children died from “undetermined” causes. Of those, 84 of them were infants. The report states: “The vast majority of these infants were found in unsafe sleep environments. Their deaths are referred to as sudden infant death.” The report further states that infants should sleep in their own crib/bassinet, with nothing but a sheet on the mattress.
• 78 died from homicides during the five-year period. Between the ages of 13-17, there were 26 boys and 2 girls killed. Of the teens killed, 19 were African-American, 5 were white, and 4 were Hispanic. There were 23 homicides in the 6-12 age group, 20 of whom were victims in the Sandy Hook school shooting in December of 2012. There were 14 homicides in toddlers aged 1-3; and 13 children aged birth to 12 months killed. The report states: “Young homicide victims generally die as a result of abusive head trauma and other forms of inflicted child abuse. Teens most often die from weapon related injuries, primarily guns, followed by stab wounds.”
• 49 youths died by suicide during the past five years. Of those, 39 died from asphyxia or hanging and 10 died from injuries from gunshot wounds. There were 26 boys and 23 girls who died by suicide. The report notes that over the past two years, girls have surpassed boys in dying by suicide. The report states: “Critical to suicide prevention initiatives is the restriction of lethal means.” It adds: “Youth may also be at increased risk for overdose by taking both prescribed and unprescribed medication.”
In releasing the report, Dr. Kirsten Bechtel and Child Advocate Sarah Eagan, co-chairs of the State Child Fatality Review Panel, said: “The purpose of providing the information on how and why children die from unintentional and intentional injuries is to support primary prevention efforts and effect systemic change on behalf of children and families.
“This report is offered with the understanding that the loss of any child is devastating to families and communities,” added Bechtel and Eagan.
“The Office of the Child Advocate, in consultation with the CFRP, share this report with the public, with our elected officials, state policy makers, our prevention partners and with all our communities, in recognition of our shared and collaborative commitment to keeping our children safe.”