How Snohomish County children die

Child deaths are often preventable. That’s why the Snohomish Health District oversees the grim task of convening a review panel at least three times a year to study why county residents under the age of 18 have died when no obvious illness has played a role. Panel members include doctors, police, school officials, prosecutors and counselors. The panel reviewed 89 cases from 2003 to 2012 out of more than 579 deaths of county residents under age 18.

Key findings

Infants

  • Nearly half of the 89 deaths reviewed involved children of 11 months or younger.
  • In 31 cases, the panel identified one or more unsafe sleeping practices that might have been a factor. The cause of death in many of those cases is officially “undetermined” and may include several possible factors.
  • The most common unsafe sleeping practices were not being in a crib, bassinet or portable crib (25); sleeping with other people (17); and not sleeping on back (14).

Toddlers

  • Four of 10 child drowning deaths involved kids ages 1 to 4. Three of those occurred in a pool, one in a bathtub.
  • Four deaths involving youths of 10 to 17 all occurred in a lake or a river.

Teens

  • Twenty-three of the deaths reviewed — more than a quarter of the total — involved 15- to 17-year-olds.
  • A majority of young people who died in car accidents were ages 15 to 17. They accounted for 16 of 25 traffic fatalities.
  • Six of nine child suicide victims were 15 to 17. The other three were 10 to 14.
  • Five of the nine child homicide victims were 15 to 17 years old. The others were distributed evenly among the other age groups.

Manner of death summary

The Snohomish Health District examined the cases of 89 of 579 deaths of kids under 18 from 2003 through 2012. The cases were studied because no obvious illness played a role. Among those 89 cases, here are the causes by age category.

< 1 1-4 5-9 10-14 15-17 Total
Unintended injury 3 6 3 5 9 26
Undetermined 23 1 0 0 1 25
Natural causes 14 1 2 1 2 20
Suicide 0 0 0 3 6 9
Homicide 1 1 1 1 5 9
Total 41 9 6 10 23 89

SOURCE: Snohomish Health District

More in Local News

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Firefighters come to the rescue and give mom new stroller

Donations to the Good Neighbor Program covered the $143.20 cost.

Case unresolved: The noose at an Edmonds construction site

Though two were fired over comments about it, police were unable to determine who put it there.

To get drug money, Lynnwood man says he cut 911 wires

Those wires happened to be the ones used by 911 dispatchers, but emergency services weren’t affected.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Motorcyclist killed in crash had high level of THC

A motorcyclist had more than eight times the legal limit… Continue reading

Investigation recommends girl shot by officers face charges

The teen is accused of assaulting her boyfriend and the responding police officers.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Higher tolls could improve traffic speed in I-405 toll lanes

A report recommends lifting on the maximum toll and charging only by segment.

Most Read