2017 Child Mortality Rates for Sioux Falls Region Released

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Unsafe sleeping conditions continue to be a leading cause of death for children in southeast South Dakota. That’s according to the 2017 child mortality rates that were released on Wednesday.

Experts say any child. infant to three years old need to sleep flat on their back on a firm flat surface, and alone, but near their parents.

Wednesday’s release also shows that deaths caused by violence and self-harm are increasing among adolescents and teens. Suicides were up 17% and homicides up 14%.

Officials are also seeing a rise in adolescent peer-on-peer homicides, and they believe they have an explanation.

“Adolescents coming into drug distribution that hadn’t been there so much in the past. And I think we are just fortunate because that has happened in large metropolitan areas for years. And maybe now we are just starting to see that happening,” said Forensic Pathologist Dr. Brad Randall.

Researches don’t have an exact answer for why suicides are increasing. They say pin-pointing a common cause is tough because it can be difficult to notice warning sign. Officials say finding a commonality or connection between suicides and homicides is the first step toward preventing them.

When it comes to helping younger children, there are resources in the Sioux Empire like the Teddy Bear Den.The organization aims to help lower-income pregnant women with early childcare.

“To help prevent infant mortality. To work with them on going to health provider appointments. Not smoking drinking, or using drugs. Immunizing their children, all of those things,” said Teddy Bear Den Executive Director Sandy Lown.

Families can earn points at the Teddy Bear Den by making these healthy choices. Those points can be redeemed for things like diapers and clothing.