Number of preventable child deaths going down in Alabama - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Number of preventable child deaths going down in Alabama

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Alabama is now moving in the right direction when it comes to child deaths.

The Alabama Department of Public Health announced Tuesday a marked improvement in the number of preventable deaths among Alabama's children.

Each year, roughly a third of all child deaths in this state are considered "preventable." Now, Alabama is on its way to preventing even more.

"In our experience in health issues around children, Alabama often doesn't rank as often as we would like," said State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson.

But today, Williamson is celebrating a success.

"Our data shows an over 20 percent decrease in child preventable deaths," says Melanie Bridgeforth with VOICES for Alabama's Children.

She credits the creation of the Alabama Child Death Review System. The legislature created it in 1997 to review all unexplained or unexpected child deaths in Alabama. Since then, it's identified the most common, most preventable causes and worked to implement policies and legislation directly related to that research.

"For older children it tends to be motor vehicle accidents, and infants it tends to be positional sleep issues," said Dr. Williamson. "The graduated teen driver's license is a direct result of the identification of motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death among teenagers. Likewise, the realization that positional issues for young children has led to efforts to hand out cribs for children whose families otherwise don't have a way to ensure that they have a separate sleeping space."

Williamson also credits laws against texting and driving for preventing teen driving accidents.

The Alabama Child Death Review System studies data from the annual Kids Count data book and information from individual counties across the states. Since 2000, local teams have reviewed more than 4,000 child deaths in depth in order to design prevention efforts and educational campaigns.

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