Violent Death Rates for Infants, Children Have Dropped

Violent death rates for adolescent males have risen, but are stable for females

THURSDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- There has been a decrease in the rates of violent death in infancy and middle childhood, according to a study published online April 27 in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Peter Sidebotham, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D., from the University of Warwick in Coventry, U.K., and colleagues used national data to identify how violent child death rates have changed since 1974 to 2008. Mortality data were collected from the Office of National Statistics, and categories potentially containing violent child deaths were evaluated for children according to age (younger than 1, 1 to 14, and 15 to 19 years). These data were compared with Home Office data about recorded homicides in children younger than 1 and aged 1 to 15 years.

The investigators found that, between 1974 and 2008, the annual rates of deaths recorded as due to assault decreased from 5.6 to 0.7 per 100,000 infants, and from 0.6 to 0.2 per 100,000 children aged 1 to 14 years. Police-recorded homicide rates in infants decreased slightly but childhood rates did not show any discernible change. The rates of death from assault in adolescents fell during the 1970s and have since remained unchanged in females but have risen in males.

"These data provide evidence that rates of violent death in infancy and middle childhood have fallen over the past 30 years. In contrast, rates in adolescence have remained static or risen over the same period," the authors write.

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