North Carolina Child Death Rate Remains at Lowest Level in History

Monday, November 12th, 2012 | Author: Tracy

RALEIGH – Data released today by NC Child Fatality Task Force show that child death rates in North Carolina ticked downward slightly in 2011 to the lowest rate yet recorded. The child death rate has been cut almost in half over the past two decades.

“Growing the prosperity of our state depends on assuring that our next generation grows up healthy, safe and strong. Maintaining the lowest child death rate on record shows the value of focused public policies and sustained and strategic investments for improving outcomes for our children. Knitting together a variety of evidence-informed policies has effects across the spectrum to prevent child death and promote well-being,” noted Elizabeth Hudgins, Child Fatality Task Force Executive Director.

Official figures gathered by the State Center for Health Statistics and the Child Fatality Prevention Team Research Staff show a rate of 57.4 deaths per 100,000 children from birth through 17 years of age, compared to 57.5 deaths per 100,000 children in 2010 and 67.0 deaths per 100,000 children in 2009. When North Carolina developed the Child Fatality Prevention System in 1990, the rate exceeded 100 deaths per 100,000 children. In total, about 10,400 child deaths have been prevented– about the equivalent of averting 8 years of child death – than if the 1991 child death rate had prevailed.

“Prevention is prevention is prevention,” commented Karen McLeod, Task Force Co-chair and Benchmarks President/CEO. “Each child death is just the tip of the iceberg, representing hundreds if not thousands of injuries or other undesirable results.  The same strategies that reduce child death help prevent poor birth outcomes, broken bones, and violence against and by children.”

Highlights of the 2011 data include:

  • The 2011 death rate of 57.4 deaths per 100,000 children is the lowest recorded rate. It represents a decline of 46% since 1991 (the inception of the Child Fatality Prevention System).
  • Poisoning is the fastest growing cause of child death. The majority of these deaths are to older adolescents, aged 15-17. The increase is due mainly to misuse of prescription drugs and consistent with national trends.  In the 1990s, it was unusual to record more than 3 teen poisoning deaths a year. Now, fewer than 10 in one year is unusual. Efforts such as Operation Medicine Drop, effective use of the Controlled Substance Reporting System, and other policy initiatives can help reduce misuse of prescription drugs.
  • While the infant mortality rate remains near its historic low in 2010, infants under age 1 comprise about two-thirds of all child deaths. Birth defects were also the cause of 7% of deaths to children over age 1 in 2011.
  • Illness is a major cause of death, accounting for 19% of child deaths in 2011. Illness is the leading cause of death for children aged 1 to 14.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury death for children.
  • The number of drowning deaths which had been unusually high in 2010 declined to more typical levels in 2011. This is on the heels of increased water safety efforts by Safe Kids NC and others.

“In the days following elections, it’s helpful to reflect on what is at stake with public policy. Fortunately for NC children and families, public policies save lives when well implemented. It’s a credit to the work of our Governors, General Assembly and partners across the decades,” concluded Dr. Peter Morris, co-chair of the Child Fatality Task Force and Wake County Human Services Medical Director. “It takes healthy, strong communities to grow healthy children. As members of the Task Force, we all know that a range of strategies and on-going commitment work together to assure the well-being of our next generation.”

Population data from 2010 and beyond rely on National Center for Health Statistics Bridged estimates. Due to these changes which affect the dominator, caution should be taken in comparing to rates prior to 2010. The number of child deaths for each county by cause and age are also available. Because the numbers for each county are relatively small, rates are not computed and all data should be used and interpreted with caution. State and county data can be found online at http://www.epi.state.nc.us/SCHS/ .

 

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After Record Decline, N.C. Infant Mortality Rate Experiences Slight Increase

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 | Author: Tracy

(Action for Children) Data released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services yesterday show, after reaching the lowest recorded rate in state history, North Carolina’s infant mortality rate experienced an uptick in 2011, increasing from 7.0 to 7.2 deaths per 1,000 live births.

The infant mortality rate is often used as a measure of the overall health of a population.  Infant mortality reflects several factors ranging from maternal health, public health practices, and socioeconomic conditions, to the ability of infants and pregnant women to access appropriate health care.

“Historically, North Carolina’s infant mortality rate has been among the highest in the nation,” said Laila A. Bell, director of research and data at Action for Children North Carolina. “Lowering our state’s infant mortality rate should be seen as a critical part of our efforts to improve public health in North Carolina.”

Recent declines in North Carolina’s overall infant mortality rate conceal disturbing trends. African American babies remain more than twice as likely to die before reaching their first birthday than White babies–a pattern that has remained consistent throughout recent years. Although Hispanic babies typically experience better birth outcomes than their non-Hispanic peers, the Hispanic infant mortality rate increased 8 percent last year to 5.4 deaths per 1,000 live births. Advocates say these disparities require the state’s immediate attention.

In addition to lingering racial inequities, the data also show persistent geographic disparities in infant deaths. Babies born in eastern North Carolina are more likely to die before their first birthday than those born in other parts of the state. In 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly cut funding to the maternity clinic that provides care to women experiencing high risk pregnancies in 29 eastern North Carolina counties. While this funding was eventually restored during the 2012 “short” legislative session, advocates say these new data underscore the importance of continued investments in interventions that support underserved communities.

“An increasingly sophisticated body of research shows that when it comes to health outcomes, place matters,” said Bell. “The conditions in which our expectant mothers and children live–the economic security of their families, the quality of their neighborhoods and schools, and their access to nutritious foods–all impact the health of our children.”

“It is not enough to simply address the symptoms of poor health,” said Bell, “we must also identify the complex root causes of health disparities and find ways to correct them.”

Interventions that work to address the environmental, social and behavioral determinants of health can create significant gains for the state. Evidence-based supports like the Nurse Family Partnership and community-based outreach programs offer an integrated approach to wellness that helps expectant mothers address multiple areas of need in their lives.

Advocates call on members of the General Assembly to recommit to preserving important progress that has been made in efforts to reduce infant mortality.  Cuts to tobacco prevention and cessation programs, coupled with the elimination of state funding to outreach programs like those offered by the N.C. Healthy Start Foundation, place gains at risk.

The following graph is provided for use by the media. To download a copy of this graph visit: http://www.ncchild.org/press-release/after-record-decline-nc-infant-mortality-rate-experiences-slight-increase

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Outdoor Learning Improves Health of NC Children

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 | Author: Tracy

ASHEBORO, N.C. – Thousands of children across North Carolina are learning to play in the dirt again. It’s part of a statewide effort to increase the health and nutrition education for children and their families called Shape NC. In Randolph County alone, 4,000 children benefit from the program, which provides outdoor classrooms and specialized education.

Pauline McKee is executive director of the Randolph County Partnership for Children.

“The outdoor learning environments are really critical. The classroom has now moved to the outdoors, so it’s serving an educational purpose as well as increasing physical activity.”

After peaking in 2005, the number of overweight children in Randolph County is on the decline, McKee says, which she attributes to Smart Start and Shape NC programs. Shape NC is made possible through a partnership with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation (BCBSNC) and the North Carolina Partnership for Children.

In addition to funding provided by BCBSNC, Shape NC programs are assisted by community partners like Kelly Contractors, Asheboro. Owner Mac Kelly says his company contributes to the outdoor playgrounds for very personal reasons.

“I’ve got two young kids myself, and we grew up on a farm – my family did. We’re seeing that a lot of kids are lacking some of the natural-type atmosphere.”

The outdoor playgrounds incorporate natural features and are constructed with the help of volunteers and donations.

Listen to the story.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service – NC
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NC Child Fatality Task Force October Meetings

Friday, October 05th, 2012 | Author: Tracy

The Child Fatality Task Force has a number of meetings scheduled for October. All meetings are from 10 until 1 in room 1027 of the Legislative Building in Raleigh.  The call-in number for those unable to participate in person is  919-831-4296. Available materials will be posted on our website under the name of the  Committee.

 

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Three in Ten Young Children Live in Poverty in North Carolina

Monday, October 01st, 2012 | Author: Tracy

The share of children in North Carolina living in households falling below the poverty line remains alarmingly high, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Last year, more than half a million North Carolina children (roughly 580,000) lived in poverty. For the first time since the start of economic downturn the share of children in North Carolina who lived in households falling below the poverty line, $23,000 for a family of four, remained statistically unchanged–one in every four children (26 percent).

“Although these figures suggest a much-needed leveling of increasing child poverty rates in our state, the fact remains that far too many children in North Carolina are growing up without access to the opportunities that form the foundation of academic, economic and developmental success,” said Laila A. Bell, Director of Research and Data at Action for Children North Carolina, a leading statewide child policy research and advocacy organization.

Young children faced the greatest risk of living in poverty. Last year, 30 percent of children under the age of five in North Carolina lived in poor households, compared to less than 2 in 10 working age adults (17 percent) and 1 in 10 seniors (10 percent). The percentage of young children living in poverty increased 34 percent from pre-recession levels in 2007, outpacing the overall growth in poverty in North Carolina by more than 1.3 times.

“The experience of poverty during early childhood damages children’s developing brains and dims their future life outcomes,” said Bell. “Even as the recession placed more North Carolina children at-risk, state investments in evidence-based programs and supports to help ease the detrimental effects of poverty for vulnerable children have declined.”

The data paint a bleak picture of North Carolina households struggling to recover in the aftermath of the recession: median household income declined for the fourth consecutive year ($43,916, down more than $4,000 when compared to pre-recession levels), the share of employed workers flat-lined (55.1 percent for workers 16 years and older) and the income gap among North Carolina households grew.

“Children living in economically secure households have the best chance to reach their full potential,” said Bell. “These new data show many North Carolina households suffering from a lack of resources to meet their children’s most basic needs.”

Nationally, 48.5 million Americans (15.9 percent) fell below the poverty line in 2011, a more than 2.2 million increase from 2010 (46.2 million Americans; 15.3 percent). This annual change represents the fourth consecutive increase in the national poverty rate since 2007-2008.

via Action for Children

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UPDATE: Still Face Experiment Researcher Coming to NC

Monday, October 01st, 2012 | Author: Tracy

Online Registration is now open! https://www.wakeahec.org/CourseCatalog/CASCE_courseinfo.asp?cr=37279

A brochure also is available outlining the day’s events.

Ed Tronick, Ph.D., internationally known for the Still Face experiment, will be the featured speaker at the North Carolina Infant and Young Child Mental Health Association’s First Annual Meeting.

Exploring the Foundations of Parent-Child Relationships: Ed Tronick and the Still Face Experiment

November 9, 2012, 9 AM – 4:30 PM
Embassy Suites Hotel Greensboro Airport
Greensboro, NC

Register Online
$75.00 Member Registration Fee. $90.00 after 11/2/2012
$100.00 Non-member Registration Fee. $115.00 after 11/2/2012
$65.00 Student Member Registration Fee. $80.00 after 11/2/2012

Dr. Tronick will share his research findings, his theory, and videotapes of infants, young children, and parents to illuminate these processes.

Ed Tronick Ph.D. is an internationally known researcher and leader in the field of infant and young child mental health. His Still Face experiment, which uses microanalysis of infant/young child-caregiver interactions, led to creation of his Mutual Regulation Model. This Model views infants as part of an early dyadic communication system in which the infant and adult mutually regulate and scaffold their engagement with each other and the world by communicating and responding to each other’s intentions. Through this back- and-forth engagement, including matched and mismatched intentions and emotional states, the infant and young child learn about communication and emotional regulation. These processes form the foundation of social-emotional development and underlying brain architecture upon which the child’s later ability to regulate emotions and attend to tasks is built.

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UPDATE: Still Face Experiment Researcher Coming to NC

Monday, October 01st, 2012 | Author: Tracy

Online Registration is now open!  https://www.wakeahec.org/CourseCatalog/CASCE_courseinfo.asp?cr=37279

A brochure also is available outlining the day’s events.

Ed Tronick, Ph.D., internationally known for the Still Face experiment, will be the featured speaker at the North Carolina Infant and Young Child Mental Health Association’s First Annual Meeting.

Exploring the Foundations of Parent-Child Relationships: Ed Tronick and the Still Face Experiment

November 9, 2012, 9 AM – 4:30 PM
Embassy Suites Hotel Greensboro Airport
Greensboro, NC

Register Online
$75.00 Member Registration Fee. $90.00 after 11/2/2012
$100.00 Non-member Registration Fee. $115.00 after 11/2/2012
$65.00 Student Member Registration Fee. $80.00 after 11/2/2012

Dr. Tronick will share his research findings, his theory, and videotapes of infants, young children, and parents to illuminate these processes.

Ed Tronick Ph.D. is an internationally known researcher and leader in the field of infant and young child mental health. His Still Face experiment, which uses microanalysis of infant/young child-caregiver interactions, led to creation of his Mutual Regulation Model. This Model views infants as part of an early dyadic communication system in which the infant and adult mutually regulate and scaffold their engagement with each other and the world by communicating and responding to each other’s intentions. Through this back- and-forth engagement, including matched and mismatched intentions and emotional states, the infant and young child learn about communication and emotional regulation. These processes form the foundation of social-emotional development and underlying brain architecture upon which the child’s later ability to regulate emotions and attend to tasks is built.

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When Moms are Depressed, Children Affected

Thursday, September 20th, 2012 | Author: Tracy

A study published in Pediatrics finds that maternal depressive symptoms during infancy may affect physical growth in early childhood.

The researchers call for prevention, early detection, and treatment of maternal depressive symptoms during the first year postpartum to help prevent impact on young children.

Read the overview.

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Whooping Cough on the Rise; Free Vaccine for Limited Time

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 | Author: Tracy

Whooping Cough (pertussis) cases are increasing across the country and North Carolina. A Forsyth County infant, just two-months old, recently died from Whooping Cough. Newborns and infants have not completed the series of vaccinations that would protect them, making them vulnerable to this disease.

Please use your networks to get this Whooping Cough Flyer into the hands of child care providers, home visitors and others who work with infants as quickly as possible. By age 11, children should receive the Tdap booster, but it’s never too late for teenagers or adults to receive the booster if they haven’t already. Many adults who had the vaccine as children have not received the booster. These adults can develop whooping cough where the symptoms are so mild, they can unknowingly spread whooping cough to babies in their care.

At the present time free Tdap vaccinations may be available from both clinics and private health care providers. New federal regulations may restrict the availability of these free immunizations to underinsured or uninsured patients only beginning October 1st.  Patients are advised to check with their clinic or physician’s office.

Download the Whooping Cough Flyer.

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Children at risk for abuse and neglect can be identified from birth

Friday, September 07th, 2012 | Author: Tracy

Researchers from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reported recently on the most significant findings from a twenty-five year study on families and children. The Family Child Study was initiated in North Carolina with the primary goal of improving the quality of policy and practice in order to promote child and family well-being based on sound evidence from the study. Two important findings from the study are that we can identify children who are at risk for abuse and neglect from the moment they are born and parental social support reduces the risk and the consequences of abuse and neglect.

The North Carolina Family Child Study became part of a larger national study, LONGSCAN (the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect), the longest such study ever undertaken in the US. LONGSCAN has four additional study sites around the country. Each of these sites has specific objectives and expertise to contribute to the group. The entire study is coordinated by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Injury Prevention Research Center. North Carolina’s Family Child Study is the oldest site in the study and has focused on the role of stress and social support in high-risk families and the factors that contribute to or lessen the risk of abuse and neglect. For two decades the Family Child Study followed North Carolina families and their children from infancy through young adulthood

“Child abuse and neglect is a dire problem nationally,” said Jonathan Kotch, MD, MPH, Principal Investigator on the study and Carol Remmer Angle Distinguished Professor of Children’s Environmental Health in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. “There is increasing interest in and support for programs that offer hope that abuse and neglect can be prevented.”

The first set of findings was presented at a meeting in Chapel Hill, NC, which included researchers, public health professionals, policy makers and alumni consultants from the study. The purpose of the meeting was to review the recently released findings so that they can be utilized more effectively to improve future policy and practice. A series of additional meetings will be held around the country to review the data from other sites, culminating in a national meeting in Washington, DC, in 2013.

“We believe the findings from this study will help us advance new and more effective policies and programs that can lead to more children living safer, happier and healthier lives.” said Rosie Allen Ryan, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina.

An important partner at this point in the study is the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation which recognized the need for the research findings from LONGSCAN to reach an audience broader than just the scientific community. The Foundation is supporting a project called From Science to Practice, led by Elizabeth Dawes Knight of the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center. The goal of the project is to effectively communicate the findings from LONGSCAN to professionals working to help families and children, to policy makers who make budget decisions and pass laws affecting families and children, and to communities and parents throughout the country as well.

“The families in this study made a critical contribution by helping us understand better about how families and children are affected by stress and social support,” said Desmond Runyan, MD, DrPH, Jack and Vicki Thompson Professor of Pediatrics at The University of Colorado and former Principal Investigator of LONGSCAN. “Families and children everywhere owe the participants in this study their thanks.”

The Family Child Study was funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the US Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS).LONGSCAN is supported with funding from the Children’s Bureau of USDHHS, with additional support from the National Institutes of Health, to the Injury Prevention Research Center of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 

Download the press release.

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