State says hurt-kid ranking inaccurate
By Beverly Creamer
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Beverly Creamer
The latest Kids Count data book, which tracks the well-being of the nation's children and was released last week, ranked Hawai'i 20th in the nation for injuries to children ages 1 to 14 and puts much of the blame on an increase in traffic-related fatalities.
However, state Health Department injury prevention epidemiologist Dan Galanis said the numbers of children who died from traffic-related causes dropped from four in 2000 to three in 2004.
A researcher for Kids Count said the group had inadvertently included data from children involved in traffic fatalities, rather than just that data on deaths.
The new Kids Count data book, produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, compared data from 2000 to 2004. In general, the data books lag several years behind current statistics because not all states have comparable data.
The data book also said deaths of young children in Hawai'i had seen a 40 percent increase, from 15 deaths per 100,000 children in 2000 to 21 deaths per 100,000 children in 2004.
State Health Department statistics, based on death certificates, show that the numbers of all young children who died under the age of 14 increased from 40 in 2000 to 46 in 2004.
Based on the population of young children in both those years, (229,974 in 2000 and 230,303 in 2004) the Health Department said the rate of deaths per 100,000 children rose from 17.4 in 2000 to 19.9 in 2004 — different than the Kids Count tally.
In looking at Hawai'i traffic fatalities among young children over a longer time span — 2001 to 2006 — the numbers have risen from 2 in 2001 to 7 last year in 2006.
Altogether, beginning in 2000, 28 children under 14 years of age have died in traffic-related fatalities through last year — 9 percent of the deaths of young children in the state in that time period.
States that are ranked first in the data book in 10 categories are considered the best for children, and Hawai'i ranked first in the nation in two of 10 categories — the low teen death rate and the low percent of teens who are high school dropouts.
Reach Beverly Creamer at email@example.com.