For years, the District of Columbia has carried a sobering rank on child fatalities per year. For years, DC has ranked as one of the highest for child and infant mortality rates, but from 2008 to 2015, improvements have been seen in terms of the number of child fatalities.
The area saw a 53 percent decrease in deaths from ages 15 to 19 years old, and infant mortality rates also improved. The primary reasons for the increase over the years were the area’s lack of safety for children and teens – leading to hundreds of unnecessary deaths each year.
While the recent statistics are promising, there is plenty more to still be done. While numbers are going down, the same report shows that the child fatality rate of the area is 69 percent higher than the national average. Also, the number of child fatalities increased between 2013 and 2015, which affects the long-term numbers and outlook.
The report also found inconsistencies between specific communities of DC. For example, the report found that African American children, as well as those living in Wards 5, 7, and 8, were at higher risk for fatalities. Also, young African American men were more likely to die due to homicide or gun violence in DC.
While gun violence and crime are one of the main causes of child fatalities, safety is another issue here. From unsafe playgrounds to neighborhoods, many of the conditions that lead to fatal accidents could be corrected, and these deaths prevented in the future.
The number of unsafe properties in DC is especially troubling. Children can easily become injured or suffer a fatal accident on these abandoned and occupied properties. While agencies have been working to establish inspections for troubled Wards, most of their efforts have been thwarted.
Common fatal injuries seen on properties in DC include:
Children are precious and meant to be protected. As a community, we must do what we can to reduce safety hazards, especially for younger children that cannot do it for themselves.
Premises liability law requires landowners to maintain their properties, and keep them safe for all people visiting or entering the property. While property owners are not responsible for trespassers, small children are not classified as trespassers – because they often are unaware that they are entering property without authorization.
Therefore, when a child is injured due to unsafe property conditions, or a fatal accident occurs, that property owner is still liable for the damages.
If your child was injured on someone’s unsafe property, contact Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP immediately. Schedule a consultation with our DC office at 202-794-6126 or contact another office location near you. You can also request a consultation appointment online by completing the online contact form.