Smith County Child Fatalities Alarmingly High

The numbers are in for Smith County, and they are alarming. Data shows Smith County exceeds the state rates for child and infant deaths.

Smith County Public Health District Director Nick Sciarrini said "People already are addressing the issues that are causing deaths. Obviously we're not doing enough."

The statewide rate for child deaths is 66.9 per 100,000 children. Smith County rates are much higher, at 103.9. For infant deaths, the numbers are even higher. The state rate is 5.7, Smith County's rate a frightening 9.8.

The Smith County Child Fatality Review Team investigates every child fatality in the county, and will discuss their findings tomorrow. "The majority of what we do review are traffic fatalities," Chairman Jamie English said, "and almost all of them that are preventable have to do with utilizing caution when driving."

English says responsible driving and proper use of seat belts, combined with better infant care techniques, could easily save children's lives in Smith County. She hopes tomorrow's press conference will help people realize that this is a number that can be lowered.