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Childhood Fatalities in New Mexico: Medical Examiner-Investigated Cases, 2000-2010

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 58 Issue: 3 Dated: May 2013 Pages: 700-704
Sarah L. Lathrop, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Date Published
May 2013
5 pages
To better understand risk factors and populations at risk of childhood fatalities, a review of all records of childhood deaths (less than 19 years) between 2000 and 2010 from New Mexico's statewide medical examiner was conducted.
Annually, 313-383 childhood deaths were investigated (3,820 total). Males and American Indians were overrepresented (62 percent and 20.4 percent of deaths, respectively). The most common manner of death was natural (44.8 percent), followed by accidental (31.4 percent), homicide (8.8 percent), suicide (8.8 percent), and undetermined (4.1 percent). Infants under 1 year of age accounted for 41.4 percent of deaths. Motor vehicle crashes were responsible for the majority of accidental deaths (69 percent), followed by unintentional overdoses (6.9 percent), and drowning (5.3 percent). Gunshot wounds, either intentional or unintentional, caused 10.7 percent of childhood deaths. Complete medico-legal investigation of childhood fatalities is needed to provide public health agencies with adequate data to evaluate and prevent childhood deaths. Abstract published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons.