Staying Alive

>>strong babyI talk a lot about what state policy makers are doing wrong when it comes to healthcare, education, and social justice. But this week, I get to step off my soap box and offer up some applause.

More North Carolina children are living into adulthood than ever before. The child >>death rate has decreased by 45% since 1990 according to a report released this month by the Child Fatality Task Force.

We have the Child Fatality Task Force to thank for saving so many lives. Since its inception 20 years ago, experts on the Task Force have donated their time to consult the state on how to reduce the unnecessary deaths of children.

The Child Fatality Task Force has reduced the incidence of children’s death on three fronts:

(1)   Infant Mortality

Infant deaths in North Carolina have gone down by 32%. Community and professional education has reduced incidences of >>SIDS—or sudden infant death syndrome, where healthy babies die without warning. The state has also received recognition for its program >>offering a hormone known as 17P to eligible pregnant women to reduce preterm baby loss.

(2)   Accidents

Fewer kids die in accidents. The law now requires the use of child safety seats in cars, reducing the deaths of children up to age nine by 25%. Plus, our state’s graduated license program has saved even more lives. Driver crashes are down 38% for 16 year olds and 20% for 17 year olds.

(3)   Protective Services

Caseloads for the Child Protective Services staff have been cut by a third, leaving caseworkers with more time to spend on each individual child in the welfare system.

I believe all of our children have the right to survive their youth and reap the rewards of their unlimited potential. It’s refreshing to see what can be done when lawmakers put politics aside and employ common sense. Let’s keep up the good work!


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