Report: Fewer Ohio child deaths, many preventable

ZANESVILLE, Ohio - Fewer Ohio children are dying but more than one in five deaths could have been prevented, according to an annual review of child fatalities.

The Child Fatality Review released Friday reviewed data from 2011, the Zanesville Times Recorder reported.

The report by the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Children's Trust Fund says nearly 10 percent fewer children died in 2011 than in 2007. There were 1,591 child deaths in 2011 and 1,760 in 2007, according to the annual review.

The report reviewed 1,547 deaths in 2011 and said more than half of those children died before age 1. It also found younger children more likely to die of natural or accidental causes than from homicide or suicide.

Prematurity caused the most deaths among Ohio children, killing 505 in 2011. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it is the leading cause of infant deaths nationwide.

County review boards identified many factors that might increase a woman's risks for premature birth. Those included smoking, having multiple children or being younger than 20.

Birth defects accounted for 207 deaths in 2011, with asphyxia accounting for 106 deaths and crashes for 83, according to the review. Suicides represented 4 percent of all deaths among Ohio children in 2011. The number of children who killed themselves doubled from 28 in 2010 to 57 in 2011.

Sleep-related deaths accounted for 16 percent of the deaths reviewed in 2011. Those included deaths from sudden infant death syndrome and suffocation. More than half occurred in unsafe locations, such as an adult's bed or couch, or while sleeping with another person or pets.

The Ohio Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would designate October as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month and requested the CDC to collect better data on the syndrome, which accounted for 34 Ohio infant deaths in 2011.

The proposed legislation will head to the Ohio House of Representatives.

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