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Study: Childhood Deaths Increased In Arizona In 2018

Arizona Department of Health Services

A new report on the death of children in Arizona has found an increase in suicide rates for kids under age 18.  

The annual study issued by the Arizona Department of Health Services shows 843 kids died statewide in 2018—the highest rate in six years.

Mary Ellen Rimsza is a pediatrician and chair of the Arizona Childhood Fatality Review program. She said 64 children took their own lives in 2018, 70-percent of them boys.  “We know some of the factors going on that put them at higher risk, for example there were 24 deaths due to firearms. So, we know access to firearms is one factor” Rimsza said.

The report found nearly a quarter of Arizona childhood deaths in 2018 were due to a lack of pre-natal care or premature births. There also was an increase in drug related deaths for kids—16 of them tied to opioid overdoses.

The report has been sent to Governor Doug Ducey’s office and state lawmakers to inform future policies intended to help protect children from early deaths.

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