AZ child deaths up for first time in seven years - Tucson News Now

AZ child deaths up for first time in seven years

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A report just released shows 854 children under the age of 18 died in our state in 2012.

That's up two percent from 2011.

This is a disturbing trend because so many of these deaths are preventable.

We've seen it so many times before.

We even saw it in a local collision two months ago when two young men smashed their car into a wall near Twin Peaks Road and Interstate 10.

One teenager was wearing his seatbelt -- the other one wasn't.

Only one was able to walk away.

Looking back on that deadly traffic collision his agency responded to September 4th, Northwest Fire District Captain Adam Goldberg says, "same impact, same car, same mechanisms of injury.  The boy with the seatbelt on literally walked away from the car, although injured and treated and recovered, walked away from the car. The boy without the seatbelt on died," Goldberg says.

Whether they fail to wear their seatbelt, play with a gun not they're not supposed to, or drown in a pool due to a lack of supervision, more children died in Arizona last year compared to the year before.

Good news is, child deaths in Pima County are actually down 16 percent.

But that's not to say there isn't room for improvement.

"How is a 15 month old left in a bathtub to be found face down floating in the water?" Goldberg says, shaking his head.

That's exactly what happened last month in Oro Valley.

The boy's father was reportedly watching the child, but was somehow distracted long enough for the baby to drown in the bathtub.

Then there's the two year old who was backed over by a Waste Management recycling truck last week in front of his Cave Creek home.

In each case an immediate lack of supervision led to the death of a child.

For that, emergency responders are saying -- enough is enough.

"We're still killing kids because of the decisions parents are making. We know that there are hazards that kids face, we know that pools are dangerous, we know the gun safety issue is there," Goldberg says.

"And so when you know these deaths are preventable and you still see those numbers and now those numbers are slightly on the rise, it's concerning and frustrating at the same time."

One area Pima County can definitely improve upon is water-related incidents.

In all of 2012, there were 15 drownings or near drownings of children in Pima County.

One of those kids died.

So far this year, Pima County has seen 18 water-related tragedies like this. 

As a result, three children have died. And in each case, officials say their deaths could have been avoided.

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