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Death rates high among South Dakota's children and teens.

Almost three out of every ten South Dakota residents are age 1-19. Of these 215,872 South Dakota youth, 51,720 are under age five; 49,801 are ages five to nine; 54,353 are ages 10-14; and 59,998 are ages 15-19. A leading cause of unintentional death for these age cohorts in South Dakota is automobile crashes.

According to data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, about two South Dakota children or youth died every week in 2003. There were 54 child deaths, ages one through fourteen, and 50 teen deaths, ages 15 through 19. South Dakota's ranking relative to other states from the most recent National Data Book (2006) are among the worst (48th in child death; 38th in teen death) in the nation. This means children (ages 1-4) in every other state, except two, are considered safer. For teens (ages 15-19), 37 other states are considered safer in the area of teen deaths.

This paper will review child and teen death data from the recently released 2006 KIDS COUNT Data Book by The Annie E. Casey Foundation. It will also review South Dakota Department of Health's data for child and teen deaths.

KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is intended to track the progress of children throughout the United States. At the national level, one of the principal activities of the KIDS COUNT program is the publication of the annual "KIDS COUNT Data Book: State Profiles of Child Well-Being," which reports on ten leading indicators of child well-being in every state.

In South Dakota, the KIDS COUNT project is a statewide collaborative effort bringing together a wide range of organizations including businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies interested in or involved with children and families. South Dakota KIDS COUNT (http://www.sdkidscount.org) is based in the Business Research Bureau, School of Business at The University of South Dakota (http://www.usd.edu/brbinfo).

The KIDS COUNT National Data Book: State Profiles of Child Well-Being, is published each year by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (http://www.aecf.org). In its publication, all fifty states are ranked from best to worst. The 2006 National Data Book, based on 2003/2004 data, ranked South Dakota 14th (of 50 states; 1st being best, 50th being worst) in child well-being.

The national composite rank for each state is obtained by converting the numerical values for each of the ten key indicators into standard scores. The standard scores are summed to create a total standard score for each of the 50 states. The states are ranked on the basis of their total standard score in sequential order from highest/best (1) to lowest/worst (50). Standard scores were derived by subtracting the mean score from the observed score and dividing the amount by the standard deviation for that distribution of scores. All measures were given the same weight in calculating the total standard score. In other words, no attempt was made to judge the relative importance of each indicator.

The national indicators include:

* Percent low birth weight babies (less than 2,500 grams)

* Infant mortality (rate per 1,000 live births)

* Child death rate (children ages 1-14), deaths per 100,000

* Teen death rate (teens ages 15-19) deaths per 100,000

* Teen birth rate (births per 1,000 females ages 15-19)

* Percent of teens who are high school dropouts (ages 16-19)

* Percent of teens not attending school and not working (ages 16-19)

* Percent of children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment

* Percent of children in poverty

* Percent of children in single-parent families.

Child and Teen Death Rates in South Dakota

In South Dakota, two indicators, child death rate and teen death rate are consistently ranked among the worst in the nation. According to the 2006 Kids Count National Data Book, the above table shows the following rankings for South Dakota on these two indicators.

Except for one year (2001 Teen Death Rate), South Dakota ranked in the bottom third of all the states. There is no simple answer to these high death rates. The South Dakota KIDS COUNT project will look in depth at the data to help explain why the state has a higher rate than other states. This analysis will look at South Dakota compared to the U.S. and adjacent states. Data from the South Dakota Department of Health will be used to help understand the causes of deaths to children and teens.

Child Deaths

Child deaths are the number of deaths from all causes per 100,000 children ages 1-14 years. The rate is a reflection of the physical, mental and emotional health of children. Accidents are the number one cause of child deaths in each age category (1-4 and 5-14) in South Dakota. The second leading cause of death is either congenital anomalies or malignant neoplasms.

The chart at the top of the page shows accidents further broken out between automobile crashes and other accidents. The percentage of automobile crashes to all accidents is 74% for 2001; 75% for 2002; 66% for 2003; and 47% for 2004.

Based on data from the 2006 National Data Book, South Dakota was above the national child death rate.

When compared to adjacent states, South Dakota's child death rate was better than only one state, Wyoming.

Teen Deaths *

This indicator is deaths from all causes to teens between ages 15-19 per 100,000 teens. As with child deaths, motor vehicle crashes make up the highest percentage of teen violent deaths. Based on data from the 2006 Kids Count Data Book, South Dakota is worse in teen death rate, except for the year 2001.

When compared to adjacent states, South Dakota's teen death rate was lower than three states and exceeded the rate for the nation and three adjacent states in 2003.

The South Dakota Department of Health's Vital Statistics book shows the leading cause of death for ages 15-19 is accidents followed by intentional self-harm.

The chart at the top of the next page shows accidents further broken out between automobile crashes and other accidents. The percentage of automobile crashes to all accidents is 90% for 2001; 87% for 2002; 76% for 2003; and 86% for 2004.

Improving Child and Teen Deaths

Child Deaths

The child death rate is the number of deaths per 100,000 children ages 1 to 14, for all causes. Unintentional injuries such as motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among this age group. It is estimated that approximately 90 percent of such injuries are preventable.

In 2003, there were 36 child deaths per 100,000 children in South Dakota, a total of 54 deaths. Compared to other states, South Dakota ranked 48th in the nation. New Hampshire ranked first in the nation with a rate of 12 per 100,000. The best neighboring state was Minnesota, whose rate of 18 per 100,000 resulted in a rank of 9th.

For South Dakota to rank number one in the nation, we would need to reduce child deaths by 36. To improve by ten percent, South Dakota would need to reduce child deaths by 6.

Teen Deaths

The rate of teen deaths is the number of deaths from all causes per 100,000 teenagers between ages 15 and 19. In South Dakota, the leading cause of teen violent death is motor vehicle crashes. Based on miles driven, teenage drivers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as are all drivers.

In 2003, there were 50 teen deaths in South Dakota, which is a rate of 82 deaths per 100,000 teens. Compared to other states, South Dakota ranked 48th in the nation. Connecticut ranked first in the nation with a rate of 40 per 100,000. The best neighboring state was Iowa whose rate of 58 per 100,000 resulted in a rank of 13th.

For South Dakota to rank number one in the nation, we would need to reduce teen deaths by 26. To improve by ten percent, South Dakota would need to reduce teen deaths by 5.

Summary

This article has examined child and teen deaths in South Dakota. National data from the recently released KIDS COUNT National Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation was reviewed along with South Dakota Department of Health data. It was found that the death rates of South Dakota children and teens have been above the national average for a number of years. Automobile crashes have been a major cause of South Dakota's poor record on child and teen deaths.

There are no simple answers to high child and teen death rates. Nothing can adequately compensate a community for the loss of a child or a teen--to their parents and families, to classmates and peers, or to the social fabric of small rural towns. South Dakota averages a loss of around 50 children and 50 teens each year. That means that since 1993 when KIDS COUNT first published a state factbook, about 1,300 children and teens have died from various causes. The majority have been from automobile crashes. If half the child and teen deaths in the past 13 years have been from automobile crashes, that means about 650 children and teens have died in automobile crashes; about the size of the town of Newell, South Dakota.

In order to decrease child and teen deaths from automobile crashes we need to determine the major factors leading to the crashes. Are crashes related to speed, alcohol, not using seatbelts, limited driving experience, distraction while driving, or a combination of all of these? Improving South Dakota's child and teen death rates will require a closer review of all of these issues. That review can begin in local communities, by working with their children, teens and schools. Law enforcement, health care, civic and business groups can also play a part in identifying ways to reduce automobile crashes and then take the necessary steps to implement those changes.

* In 2005 The Annie E. Casey Foundation changed the way this indicator was measured. In previous years, the indicator measured teen violent deaths from accidents, homicides, and suicides. Data now reflect teen deaths (ages 15-19) from all causes.

About the author:

carole cochran is Program Director for the South Dakota Kids Count Program, located at the School of Business. The University of South Dakota. Vermillion, South Dakota. South Dakota Kids Count began in 1993. You can access Kids Count information at http://www.sdkidscount.org
South Dakota 2000 2001 2002 2003

Child Deaths (based on deaths
per 100,000 children ages 1-14) 49th 47th 47th 48th

Teen death rate (based on 35th 24th 42th 38th
deaths per 100,000 teens ages
15-19)

Source: 2006 KIDS COUNT Databook. State Profiles of Child Well-Being.
Annie E. Casey Foundation.

South Dakota Residents Age 1-14 Leading Causes of Death, 2001-2004

2001 #1 Leading Cause #2 Leading Cause #3 Leading Cause
 of Death of Death of Death

14 years Accidents (5) Congenital *
 Anomalies (3)
5-14 years Accidents (22) Congenital *
 Anomalies (3)

2002 #1 Leading Cause #2 Leading Cause #3 Leading Cause
 of Death of Death of Death

1-4 years Accidents (5) Congenital Assault (homicide)
 Anomalies (3) (3)
5-14 years Accidents (15) Malignant Intentional
 neoplasms self-harm
 (cancer) (4) (Suicide) (3)

2003 #1 Leading Cause #2 Leading Cause #3 Leading Cause
 of Death of Death of Death

14 years Accidents (14) Congenital Assault (homicide)
 Anomalies (3) (3)
5-14 years Accidents (15) Malignant Septicemia (3)
 Neoplasm (cancer)
 (5)

2004 #1 Leading Cause #2 Leading Cause #3 Leading Cause
 of Death of Death of Death

1-4 years Accidents (12) * *
5-14 years Accidents (22) Malignant *
 Neoplasm (cancer)
 (4)

* Less than 3 events

Source: South Dakota Vital Statistics Report: A State and County
Comparison of Leading Health Indicators, 2001-2004.

South Dakota Department of Health, Office of Data, Statistics, and
Vital Records.

Number of Deaths from Accidents:
Ages 1-14, South Dakota

 Automobile Other
 Crashes Accidents Total

2001 20 7 27
2002 15 5 20
2003 19 10 29
2004 16 18 34

Source: South Dakota Vital Statistics Report: A State and County
Comparison of Leading Health Indicators, 2001-2004. South Dakota
Department of Health, Office of Data, Statistics, and Vital Records.

Ages Automobile Other
15-19 Crashes Accidents Total

2001 18 2 20
2002 33 5 38
2003 19 6 25
2004 19 3 22

Source: South Dakota Vital Statistics Report: A State and County
Comparison of Leading Health Indicators, 2001-2004. South Dakota
Department of Health, Office of Data, Statistics, and Vital Records.

South Dakota Residents Age 15-19
Leading Causes of Death, 2001-2004

2001 #1 Leading Cause #2 Leading Cause #3 Leading Cause
 of Death of Death of Death

15-19 years Accidents (20) Intentional Assault (homicide)
 Self-Harm (4)
 (Suicide) (11)

2002 #1 Leading Cause #2 Leading Cause #3 Leading Cause
 of Death of Death of Death

15-19 years Accidents (38) Intentional Heart Disease (4)
 Self-Harm
 (Suicide) (11)

2003 #1 Leading Cause #2 Leading Cause #3 Leading Cause
 of Death of Death of Death

15-19 years Accidents (25) Intentional Malignant
 Self-Harm Neoplasms
 (Suicide) (10) (Cancer) (4)

2004 #1 Leading Cause #2 Leading Cause #3 Leading Cause
 of Death of Death of Death

15-19 years Accidents (22) Intentional Assault (homicide)
 Self-Harm (3)
 (Suicide) (16)

2001 #4 Leading Cause
 of Death

15-19 years Malignant
 Neoplasm (3)

2002 #4 Leading Cause
 of Death

15-19 years *

2003 #4 Leading Cause
 of Death

15-19 years *

2004 #4 Leading Cause
 of Death

15-19 years *

* Less than 3 events.

Source: South Dakota Department of Health, Office of Data, Statistics,
and Vital Records.

Child Death Rate (Deaths per 100,000 Children Ages 1-14),
2000-2003

 Rate per 100,000 Child Death
 Ages 1-14

 South Dakota U.S.

2000 35 22
2001 33 22
2002 31 21
2003 36 21

Note: Table made from line graph.

Child Deaths (per 100,000 Children Ages 1-14), 2003

 Number per 100,000
 Children Ages 1-14

Minnesota 18
Nation 21
Iowa 22
Montana 24
Nebraska 25
North Dakota 25
South Dakota 36
Wyoming 37

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Source of charts: 2006 KIDS COUNT Data Book. The Annie E. Casey
Foundation.

Teen Death Rate (Deaths per 100,000 Teens Ages 15-19)

 Rate per 100,000 Teens Ages 15-19

 South Dakota U.S.

2000 78 67
2001 66 67
2002 94 68
2003 82 66

Note: Table made from line graph.

Teen Deaths (Deaths per 100,000 Teens Ages 15-19)

 Rate per 100,000 Teens Ages 15-19

Iowa 58
Minnesota 59
Nebraska 61
Nation 66
South Dakota 82
North Dakota 85
Wyoming 85
Montana 104

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Source of Charts: 2006 KIDS COUNT Data Book. The Annie E. Casey
Foundation.
COPYRIGHT 2006 The Business Research Bureau
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Article Details
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Author:Cochran, Carole
Publication:South Dakota Business Review
Date:Jun 1, 2006
Words:2436
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