LAS VEGAS — The number of child deaths in Clark County has steadily declined over the past few years, but more educational campaigns are needed to bring that figure down further, according to researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
An annual report released Monday by UNLV's Nevada Institute for Children's Research and Policy shows 222 children younger than 18 died in Clark County in 2012, a drop from 311 deaths in 2008.
"Keeping track of this data helps to drive down the number of child fatalities because it allows community partners to work collaboratively to target outreach and education focused on injury prevention to prevent these deaths," Tara Phebus, NICRP's interim executive director, said in a statement.
Out of all the child deaths last year, 127 — more than half — were natural. Sixty-six were accidents, while eight children died in homicides and five died in suicides. The cause of death couldn't be determined in 16 cases.
Motor vehicle deaths nearly doubled from 2011 to 2012, reaching 19 last year. Suffocation and strangling deaths reached a five-year high of 23.
The number of suicides dropped significantly, from 16 in 2011 to five in 2012. The number of homicides was cut in half year-over-year, falling from 19 in 2011 to eight in 2012.
Researchers recommended a number of steps to prevent further deaths, including offering culturally sensitive outreach about safe sleeping environments.
Study authors also call for campaigns promoting motor vehicle and pedestrian safety, and initiatives discouraging substance abuse in young adults.
The institute analyzes data gathered by an independent child death review team in Clark County, and has been preparing an annual report on the topic for the past seven years.