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Suicides now top traffic deaths among young adolescents


Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released statistics on November 3 that show the suicide rate for children ages 10 to 14 has now surpassed the death rate from traffic accidents among this age group (Source: “Young Adolescents as Likely to Die From Suicide as from Traffic Accidents,” New York Times, November 3, 2016).

According to 2014 data, 425 children ages 10 to 14 killed themselves. In contrast, 384 children of that age died in car accidents.

Death is a rare event for adolescents. But the unprecedented rise in suicide among children at such young ages, however small the number, was troubling and federal researchers decided to track it. While no one factor can be blamed for the increases, experts say social media and changing cultural norms have played a large part.

The crossing-over point was reached in part because suicides had spiked, but also because fatal traffic accidents had declined.

In 1999, the death rate for children ages 10 to 14 from traffic accidents, about 4.5 deaths per 100,000, was quadruple the rate for suicide. But by 2014, the death rate from car crashes had been cut in half, part of a broader trend across the entire population. The suicide rate, however, had nearly doubled, with most of the increase happening since 2007. In 2014, the suicide death rate was 2.1 per 100,000.

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