TOPEKA – (October 3, 2016) – The child death rate in Kansas hit a record low in 2014, according to a newly released report from the Kansas State Child Death Review Board.
The board’s 2016 annual report analyzes deaths that occurred in calendar year 2014, the most recent year for which data is available. The report showed that Kansas had 410 child fatalities that year. The death rate of 56.7 deaths per 100,000 population is the lowest death rate in any year since the board began reviewing cases in 1994.
“The death of a child is always a tragedy,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. “This report brings some good news that child deaths are at their lowest rate in the 20 years the State Child Death Review Board has been reviewing cases. We appreciate the board’s work in providing this information, which will inform policymakers on steps to continue preventing deaths of Kansas children.”
In addition to the overall number of deaths, the report showed that the rate of infant deaths – which includes newborns through 1 year of age – decreased to 6.6 deaths per 1,000 live births from 6.9 in 2013. Working to decrease the infant mortality rate continues to be a goal of the board and Kansas policymakers.
Natural deaths including those as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) remained the cause in the majority of the child fatalities, accounting for 296 of the total cases. SIDS deaths declined to a 10-year low of 0.5 deaths per 1,000 live births.
“While I am pleased to see the Kansas rate of SIDS decreasing, there is still much work to be done regarding safe sleep”, said Sara Hortenstine, the board’s executive director. “More than 80 percent of the infants who died from SIDS in 2014 had one or more factors that contributed to an unsafe sleep environment.”
The report also examined the six deaths that occurred in non-relative childcare homes and centers in 2014. In five of the six cases, the board identified an unsafe environment as a factor contributing to the death.
The child homicide rate in 2014 increased slightly from the previous year from 2.4 to 2.6 deaths per 100,000 population. In 53 percent of those cases, the death resulted from child abuse.
In addition to policy recommendations, the report includes prevention points that families can use to decrease the likelihood of a child’s death.
“By reviewing each child fatality in Kansas, the board is able to analyze and provide data within our annual report to educate individuals, organizations, and the State of Kansas as a whole,” Hortenstine said. “The information leads to valuable community collaboration and prevention efforts surrounding child fatalities in our state.”
The board is a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency volunteer board organized by law within the Attorney General’s Office to examine trends and patterns that identify risk factors in the deaths of children, from birth through 17 years of age.
The report is available on the attorney general’s website at http://bit.ly/2dKYuSG.